Monday, December 15, 2014

A Star for Jesus ~ Book Review



Let me start off by saying that not only is this an ADORABLE book but we really loved it. How refreshing it is to find children's stories about Jesus. Especially books with such a powerful message! How simple of a reminder that all we need to do is look at the stars and think of Jesus. Another reason why I love books such as this for my kids, especially as we are now in the Christmas season, is because it's a great reminder at what the season is all about. Not gifts and such, but the birth of Jesus and celebrating Him.

This book is excellent for children in many ways. The words rhyme often and are very easy to understand. The illustrations are vivid and very well done. It will capture your small child's attention. Especially for the really small ones. This is a board book and easy for them to hold with no worries on ripping pages! I would highly recommend it to any of you parents out there with young readers. It's a good lesson to be reminded of how the three wise men followed the star to where Jesus was, and how we can remember to worship Him today. My children loved it. Especially my toddler he has had me read to it to him almost every night since we got it. So parent and kid approved in our house I am glad to say. We hope you will check it out! :)



::From the back of the book::
"God made the stars and put them up high to shine down on earth from up in the sky." But long ago God made a special star. He put it in the sky to send a message: "Jesus our Savior has come …" We can look at the stars at night. And we can remember that a long time ago, Jesus' star shone among them.


Would you like to purchase this book for your little reader?
Board Book      Nook


::Product Details::
  • Age Range: 2 - 5 years
  • Board book: 14 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (August 29, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310712165
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310712169



Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookLookBloggers in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Prayers for the Stolen ~ A Book Review



This book definitely grabs your attention from the first page. When Ladydi's mother is trying to make her ugly and make her look like a boy I knew this book was going to have me hooked. I wasn't wrong in my prediction as it was an extremely hard book to put down, and it was riveting. Just when I thought there was going to be a part that would drag or be something I would predict I was wrong.
Ladydi lives alone with her mother in a two room house with dirt floors. There are deadly scorpions, tarantulas, giant red and black ants, poisonous snakes, etc that are a part of their everyday lives. They eat very little and have very little. What they have has either come stolen or as gifts. Work is hard to find, and being out in the public eye is even harder. Ladydi lives on a mountain in Mexico where girls are to be hidden or else they will be taken. From birth until they can't hide it anymore these girls are made as ugly as possible and made to look like boys. Mothers dig holes in the ground and cover them with leaves so when the drug traffickers come to steal a girl to sell the girls can hide in a hole in the ground and perhaps have more of a chance to be saved.
This is a world where prostitution, kidnapping, murder, and drugs is a part of their everyday lives. Nobody blinks an eye to find a dead man in the desert, nobody asks questions when they stumble upon a drug field, and everyone knows better than to call the police when a drug trafficker comes knocking on their door armed with guns searching for a pretty girl to take and sell.
It is extremely heartbreaking to read such stories, but it's a reality in this world all over that such things do exist. If you do your research it's a serious issue that has gone on for years.
This book puts these issues in a story from a perspective of a young girl growing up in such a lifestyle. In Ladydi's world you will experience all of these and more. But this book is also heartbreaking and I wish I could have learned more about what happened to the characters later on to see how some of them ended up. I also wish some more information on big events would have been given in the book to understand some things a little better.
I still think this is a powerful, brutally honest, eye-opening read and I definitely recommend it.



::This book is available in::
Paperback   Hardcover   Kindle   Nook



::Product Details::
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Hogarth (November 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080413880X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804138802




::About the author::
Jennifer Clement studied English Literature and Anthropology at New York University and also studied French literature in Paris, France. She has an MFA from the University of Southern Maine.

Clement is the author of the cult classic memoir Widow Basquiat (on the painter Jean Michel Basquiat) and two novels: A True Story Based on Lies, which was a finalist in the Orange Prize for Fiction, and The Poison That Fascinates.
She is also the author of several books of poetry: The Next Stranger (with an introduction by W.S. Merwin); Newton's Sailor; Lady of the Broom and Jennifer Clement: New and Selected Poems. Her prize-winning story A Salamander-Child is published as an art book with work by the Mexican painter Gustavo Monroy.

Jennifer Clement was awarded the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) Fellowship for Literature 2012. She is also the recipient of the UK's Canongate Prize. In 2007, she received a MacDowell Fellowship and the MacDowell Colony named her the Robert and Stephanie Olmsted Fellow for 2007-08. Clement is a member of Mexico's prestigious "Sistema Nacional de Creadores."


Jennifer Clement was President of PEN Mexico from 2009 to 2012. She lives in Mexico City, Mexico and, along with her sister Barbara Sibley, is the founder and director The San Miguel Poetry Week.




Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book, as a Blogging for Books member, in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Noah: A Wordless Picture Book




Noah is an excellent children's book. It's a great new way to bring Bible stories to life that children can really get into. Especially ones who love pictures, considering this is a picture book. Usually I don't find a lot of picture books around targeted at older children so it's nice to find one with colorful vivid illustrations that help spark that imagination and vision, but this one does a good job of that.
If you are reading this to younger children there are a couple of dark photographs, and you have to be able to tell them the story since this is a wordless picture book.
For older children that are familiar with the story of Noah then they shouldn't have a problem getting through it. It will actually give them more time to look in depth at the pictures as they go and be able to visualize more.
I think all in all it's a great book. I hope the author will continue to make more children's wordless bible stories like this as we all enjoyed them very much.


::Product Details::
  • Age Range: 2 - 18 years
  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Plough Publishing House; SEW edition (October 24, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874866391
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874866391





Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Handlebar Publishing in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Their Name Is Today - Reclaiming Childhood in a Hostile World




The title couldn't be more perfect for this book in this day and age. In today's world it is violent, unpredictable, and can be damaging for our children. One of the main problems is how parents handle their children in this world. Rather than teach many parents are just letting their children go. Children, teens, etc., are just allowed to do as they please with little or no regard from their parents. There is hardly any guidance or structure anymore. Sadly, love, seems also to be absent. It's a heart-breaking thought and yet a true reality.
What parents don't realize is now more than ever our children need our love, strength, teaching, and guidance. This world we live in is not an easy one, and rather than ignore it we need to recognize and overcome.
Life can get so hectic that we often realize what the most precious and important things are in life. Our ultimate treasures, our children. Our children need our time, attention, love, and respect. They are little people and they want what we all want with love and respect.
This book is something that any parent, grandparent, family member, teacher, etc., should read at least once. It includes countless wonderful advice on raising, loving, and respecting our children. From limiting TV time to dealing with difficult children this is a handy tool to read over and over again.
I highly recommend it, and even if you don't agree with some of the advice/answers in this book you will still be glad you read it. I believe there's something for everyone within these pages.




::From the back of the book::
There’s hope for childhood. Despite a perfect storm of hostile forces that are robbing children of a healthy childhood, courageous parents and teachers who know what’s best for children are turning the tide. Johann Christoph Arnold, whose books on education, parenting, and relationships have helped more than a million readers through life’s challenges, draws on the stories and voices of parents and educators on the ground, and a wealth of personal experience. He surveys the drastic changes in the lives of children, but also the groundswell of grassroots advocacy and action that he believes will lead to the triumph of common sense and time-tested wisdom. Arnold takes on technology, standardized testing, overstimulation, academic pressure, marketing to children, over-diagnosis and much more, calling on everyone who loves children to combat these threats to childhood and find creative ways to help children flourish. Every parent, teacher, and childcare provider has the power to make a difference, by giving children time to play, access to nature, and personal attention, and most of all, by defending their right to remain children.




::Product Details::

  • Paperback: 189 pages
  • Publisher: Plough Publishing House (September 22, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874866308
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874866308



  •  

    ::Purchase this book::

    Kindle     Paperback     Nook

     




    ::About the author::
    People have come to expect sound advice from Johann Christoph Arnold, an award-winning author with over 1.3 million copies of his books in print in more than 20 languages.

    A noted speaker and writer on marriage, parenting, and end-of-life issues, Arnold is a senior pastor of the Bruderhof, a movement of Christian communities. With his wife, Verena, he has counseled thousands of individuals and families over the last forty years. His books include Their Name Is Today, Why Forgive?, Rich in Years, Seeking Peace, Cries from the Heart, Be Not Afraid, and Why Children Matter.

    Arnold's message has been shaped by encounters with great peacemakers such as Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, César Chavez, and John Paul II. Together with paralyzed police officer Steven McDonald, Arnold started the Breaking the Cycle program, working with students at hundreds of public high schools to promote reconciliation through forgiveness. This work has also brought him to conflict zones from Northern Ireland to Rwanda to the Middle East. Closer to home, he serves as chaplain for the local sheriff's department.

    Born in Britain in 1940 to German refugees, Arnold spent his boyhood years in South America, where his parents found asylum during the war; he immigrated to the United States in 1955. He and his wife have eight children, 44 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. They live in upstate New York.

    To learn more visit www.plough.com



     

    Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Handlebar Publishing in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

    A Robertson Family Christmas





    I am a huge fan of the Robertsons and Duck Dynasty. It isn't just because of their popularity, that actually has nothing to do with it. I love their faith, their love as a family together, and their laid back ways. There's just something about them all that is truly genuine, and you don't find that often at all. They aren't afraid to speak of their faith, to stand up for it, and no matter what they always unite as a family. Those are traits that should be present in every family, but just isn't the case in this day and age. So it's nice to find others out there like that.

    So I was very excited to get the chance to read A Robertson Family Christmas. This is such a unique and original novella. One that I got swept up in instantly. This book is about a teenage boy named Hunter, who is extremely withdrawn and depressed with the way his life is going. His parents are divorced, his dad and brother spend all their time together, and his mom is constantly working leaving him often times alone. When he finds out he has won a contest to spend Christmas with the Robertsons, when he didn't even enter a contest, he was angry. He wanted nothing more than to spend Christmas with his dad and brother, but was too stubborn to say so. So off he goes on the plane and soon finds himself in the loving zany house of the Robertsons. He tries to hide with his headphones on but the family gives him little chance of that. As he starts to really get to know them he still feels left out in the world, but finds that he also feels as if something is missing from his life. Taking part in everything from hunting trips, to cooking with Miss Kay, Hunter seems to realize a few lessons about life, love, and even faith...

    I love hearing about some of the Robertson's family traditions. And this book is definitely filled with tons of humor strung throughout to keep you laughing. I found myself laughing out loud just picturing some of the parts in the story they were so funny.

    The love of family and faith is also very strong in this book. I love that there was such a presence of this, but what else would you expect when talking about the Robertsons? The story went together so very well together and blended fiction with non-fiction perfectly creating a wonderful story that ages teens and up can enjoy.

    It's a short sweet book, and took me no time at all to read. At the same time it's also not a book I will soon forget! Miss Kay definitely has a knack for writing. Even though Hunter is a fictional character it would be easy to see this as a real teen going through the troubles he did. I felt often annoyed by Hunter's character. Even though he has been dealt a hard life in the story what with his parents divorce and loneliness he is very rude to people. But of course he's a teen so that's what is to be expected, and adds more reality to the story. The end of the story is so humbling and I wanted to read more very badly. I wish it continued! I can't say more about the ending without giving too much away, but I will definitely recommend you give this book a try! You won't be disappointed, especially if your a Robertson fan like my family is.



    ::From the back of the book::

    Based on real Robertson family Christmas traditions, this novella gives readers a window into the heartwarming and sometimes-zany moments shared by America's favorite Duck Commanders.

    Hunter Clarke wanted one thing for Christmas: to spend it with his dad and his brother. He misses being included in any guy trips since his parents divorced and he went to live with his mom. So he’s less than happy when his mother tells him that he won a contest to spend Christmas in West Monroe, Louisiana, with a family named the Robertsons. For some reason, they’re supposed to be a big deal. How did he win a contest he didn’t enter? Besides, he’s never heard of them and sure doesn’t want to spend Christmas in a swamp with a bunch of strangers.

    Korie Robertson is excited to open her heart and home to Hunter and show him what the Christmas season looks like for the Robertson family. And like it or not, Hunter experiences it firsthand. From duck-hunting disasters with the bearded guys, to learning to cook with Miss Kay, Hunter quickly discovers what it’s like to live with this boisterous, yet loving family. Putting on his headphones and ignoring them is not an option. Before long, Hunter begins to let his guard down. But with Christmas and the end of his trip fast approaching, will it be too little, too late? Or will Hunter be open to the greatest gift of all?



     

    ::Product Details::

     
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (October 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414398204
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414398204

  •  



    ::Also available in::

    Kindle      Nook      Hardcover



     

    Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

    Saturday, October 25, 2014

    Heaven Touching Earth - True Stories of Angels, Miracles, and Heavenly Encounters

     


    This isn't your ordinary book. This is a book filled with TRUE stories of angels, miracles, and heavenly encounters. Each chapter has a testimony by a different person going into detail about their personal experiences of this sort.

    This is a wonderful book for those of you who, like me, like to read about encounters as such. These types of encounters cannot be explained away, and are heart-warming. Even when you don't see things happening in your life doesn't mean they aren't. And these types of books are further proof that whether you know it or not God is always at work. He works in mysterious ways.

    I enjoyed this book immensely. Each story pulled me in, and at times I just couldn't believe what I was reading. Of course I am a believer in God, miracles, and angels. But this book can even be for those of you who are just interested in the supernatural, or if you just want to reassure yourself of God's presence.

    Reading stories like this always strengthens my faith and belief. It gives us hope, and it warms our hearts. I highly recommend you give it a try. You won't be disappointed. There are all kinds of different testimonies to keep you hooked, and be prepared to feel a ton of emotions. Some of these testimonies even brought tears to my eyes, and of course held me on the edge of my seat.



    ::From the back of the book::
    God Is Closer Than You Might Think

    A thin curtain separates the physical world from the unseen spiritual realm. And sometimes God pulls it back to give us a glimpse of the other side. In Heaven Touching Earth, ordinary people share more than forty all-new stories of miracles, healing, divine provision and protection, and encounters with angels and demons.

    These true, uplifting stories will remind you that even when you don't see obvious evidence of God at work in your life or get quick answers to prayer, there is a loving Father who protects and provides and is always working on your behalf in the invisible realm.

    Whether you're simply curious about the supernatural world or longing for a fresh experience of God's presence, these inspiring stories will touch your heart and strengthen your faith in the God of miracles.



     

    ::About the author::
    James Stuart Bell is a Christian publishing veteran and the owner of Whitestone Communications, a literary development agency. He is the editor of many story collections, including the Cup of Comfort, Life Savors, and God Encounters series, and the coauthor of numerous books in the Complete Idiot's Guide series. He and his family live in West Chicago, Illinois.



     

    ::Purchase this book::

    Paperback       Kindle     Nook

     



    ::Product Details::
     
    Paperback: 256 pages
    Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (September 16, 2014)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 0764211862
    ISBN-13: 978-0764211867

     

     


    Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

    Saturday, October 18, 2014

    Bible Study for Busy Mamas Thirty Days In 1 Corinthians 13




    As a mom I can attest to how busy we can be. It's hard to find time to sit down, take a bath, etc. Let alone get in any bible study time. I love to get in bible study, to sit down and take in God's word. The problem is the time it takes to do so.  I feel guilty on those days where I just don't find the time to do that. So for that reason I specifically like to look for short Bible Studies, especially ones with moms in focus.
    This is one of those such Bible study books which I like. Each study takes about five minutes at a time, and in addition to that there is even a way to include your children with you! Not only are the bible studies quick and easy, but you won't believe how in depth they are! It truly astounded me.
    This book helps you get to know one chapter (only 13 verses) of the Bible. You can do this over thirty days or so and you only have to devote five minutes a day, (or more if you want to). It's a fun and enlightening challenge.
    Every lesson in this book not only directed for moms but, as I mentioned before, there are lessons included for your children too! This is especially handy if the only free time you get is while your children are awake, or if you try to squeeze in separate bible studies for you and your children. Why not do it all in one if you can? The children's lessons are of course optional.
    The lessons are extremely fun and you will find yourself deeply involved. My kids loved doing the lessons with me and had such fun. They were actually really disappointed, as was I, when we finished the book! There are tons of ways to get creative with the lessons too which is always great because everyone's household is different of course.
    All in all a great bible study for moms, children, dads, and just the whole family to be a part of. I highly recommend it. If you do give it a try come back and let me know what you thought of it! I know I am now eager to check out Pam Forster's other books as well. (You will find a list of these in this book).



    ::Find this book for::   Kindle   Print



    ::Product Details::
    Series: Bible Study for Busy Mamas
    Paperback: 99 pages
    Publisher: Doorposts Publishing Co; 1ST edition (2014)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 1891206575
    ISBN-13: 978-1891206573



    Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book for free, as a BookCrash memeber, in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

    Draw-A-Saurus - Don't Let Your Drawing Skills Fossilize



    ::My Review::
    Like most kids, boys and girls alike, my kiddos are really into dinosaurs. And they both happen to be into drawing as well. So I knew when I seen this book I had to have it for them! I wasn't disappointed, and they were sure thrilled as well with it. This book has easy to follow instructions on drawing dinosaurs, and even some fun facts throughout.
    The colors are vivid and captivating, and my kids were absorbed. I have to admit even I was captivated by this book and couldn't put it down at first. My favorite thing is the detailed step-by-step advice this book gives. It doesn't just thrust you in there scrambling to draw what you see on the pages, but guides you along.
    It's also very humorous. This is unlike ordinary drawing books we have come across, this drawing book makes it a FUN experience, and one your kids will love!



    ::About the book::
    This in-depth yet accessible dinosaur drawing guide combines humor, creativity, and the latest dino research to show artists young and old how to breathe life into drawings of their prehistoric favorites.

    Prehistoric Pencil Power!
    Even though they lived some 65 million years ago, dinosaurs and other prehistoric reptiles continue to rule today. From movies to comics and cartoons, these ancient, giant beasts are everywhere you turn. Of course, who wants to just read about or watch these dinos when you can learn how to use pencils, pens, markers, and more to draw your very own?

    Cartoonist James Silvani combines easy-to-follow art exercises with the latest, greatest dino-facts to help you create fun and cool dinosaur doodles all by yourself. With lessons on old favorites like T-rex and stegosaurus, as well as lesser-known (but still awesome) creatures like the massive argentinosaurus, Draw-a-Saurus has everything the dinosaur fan could ever ask for (outside of their very own pet dino!).



    ::Product Details::
    • Paperback: 160 pages
    • Publisher: Watson-Guptill (September 9, 2014)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0385345801
    • ISBN-13: 978-0385345804

    ::Also available in::



    Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book for free as a Blogging for Books member in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

    Sunday, September 28, 2014

    Jonah and the Great Big Fish



    ::Book Description::
    "God told Jonah to obey, said, 'Go to Nineveh this day.' But, stubborn Jonah fled instead. Didn’t do just what God said." Jonah’s disobedience landed him inside a big fish! And there he had time to think and pray. Children will feel the waves and hear the splash as Jonah sinks “down and down and down” into the belly of the fish. This story serves as an excellent reminder of how important it is to listen to God.


    ::My Review::
    This is a well-known bible story, but unlike the traditional version this book puts this story in rhyme form.
    This book does not deviate from the original retelling, but rather makes it easier for children to understand. Rather than just tell a story of Jonah getting swallowed by a whale it tells how he came to be in that situation, and how he gets out of that situation.
    The pictures are all very wonderfully illustrated and vivid which makes it that much more fun and engaging for children of all ages. While this book is meant for younger children I think all kids of elementary grades would have fun reading this book. It is even a spectacular book for beginning readers due to the rhyming form it's in. It is easy to remember, and understand. Not to mention fun while telling the story in it's exactness.
    I would have liked the story to continue a bit, but overall this gets the important point of always obeying God across as it needs to be.
    It's not often you find a book like this that can be so simple yet stick so close to an actual Bible Story. But this one does just that, plus adds a wonderful visual experience to keep children engaged and focused. I highly recommend this. My kids are 7 and 3, and both greatly enjoyed this book very much.





    ::Product Details:: 
    • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
    • Hardcover: 32 pages
    • Publisher: Zonderkidz (July 29, 2014)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0310732190
    • ISBN-13: 978-0310732198



    Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

    Monday, September 15, 2014

    Happy Homemaker Monday - 09/15/2014

    Well, it's Monday again. They always come way to fast, and I never quite adjust to how fast the weekends fly by. lol
    I hope everyone is having a good Monday. Mine started out rocky, but is going okay for now. Hopefully it continues.
    I know I'm getting started on this a bit late, but my whole morning has been a bit behind and I have been battling an annoying headache today.
    If you would like to join in Happy Homemaker Monday please click the link in the caption under the photo below and join in from Sandra's page. :)

    Image Credit: Sandra @ Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
    If you would like to join in with HHM just click the above link. :)



    ::Breakfast time - what is on the plate this morning::
    I had a glass of milk and some toast with cream cheese. 


    ::Looking around the house::
    My little one is watching Blue's Clue's getting ready for his afternoon nap. The kitchen needs tidying up, my counters look horrid right now. People have placed papers and stuff just wherever on them. The living room needs vacuumed and a quick pick up. Bedrooms need vacuumed. Laundry needs ironed and put away. Daily cleaning of bathrooms needs done. (I have two boys so cleaning the bathrooms every day is a necessity in our household lol)


    ::On today's to do list::
    Iron, fold, and put away clothes. No washing today thankfully.
    Cleaning - kitchen, living room, bedrooms and bathrooms.
    Cooking - dinner is all that's left to cook for now, lunch and breakfast is already done.


    ::Currently reading::
    nothing at the moment


    ::On the TV today::
    I honestly cannot think of anything that is on today. I haven't had a whole lot of time lately to catch up on any of my missed or favorite shows and I haven't really missed it all that much. I may just watch the nightly news, and that's it today. Unless of course my husband has a show that comes on and I forgot about. Then I'll watch that with him.


    ::The weather outside is::
    67 degrees. It's sunny but not too hot. There's a bit of a breeze going, and it's a beautiful day really. I'm getting ready to pop open all my windows and let that fresh air and sunshine go through the house. I love this time of year when it's not too hot, not too cold, and the fresh air is just comforting.


    ::On the menu this week::
    Hubby's hours have been cut at his work so our budget isn't very friendly, and won't be for awhile. We will have what we need but I won't have a lot of extra to work with and you may see some repeats of some meals from a week prior or so for awhile.

    Monday- Spaghetti and garlic bread
    Tuesday- Cheeseburger Macaroni, mashed potatoes, corn
    Wednesday- Baked chicken, rice, broccoli
    Thursday- shopping day
    Friday- see above
    Saturday-
    Sunday-


    ::If I have a few minutes to myself, I will::
    Read and visit some blogs


    ::New recipe I tried, or want to try this week::
    I would like to try a new chicken casserole recipe. Lately I am all about casserole dishes, and crock-pot meals. I have been extremely tired lately so maybe that is why. LOL Stuff that is easy, cheap, but yummy.


    ::One of my simple pleasures::
    Watching house hunters, and love it or list it. I like seeing people search for new homes, seeing what they are like after they have put their personal touches on things. I also like seeing old houses fixed up into something new and beautiful.


    ::Favorite photo from the camera::
    Nothing this week


    ::Visiting with Blog friends (blog you want to share, blog post that caught your eye)::
    No blog visiting this week other than Diary of a Stay at Home Mom. I just haven't had much time to really stop and chat sadly. Hopefully I can do so this week though. :)


    ::Praying for::
    Finances, friends, family, ourselves.


    ::Bible Verse, Devotional that is resonating with me at the moment::



    Saturday, September 13, 2014

    Quick Update...

    Well, it's been awhile since a regular post update. I just needed to take a bit of a break from the blog. Sometimes I get a little frazzled trying to keep up with everything, and when I get to that stress point it's just good to "un-plug" for awhile. 
    I will try to be back here regularly because I have missed blogging, joining in on group posts/blog hops, etc.
    Here's some info on what's been going on lately:


    The hubby and I wrapped up our summer business at the end of July. We sell novelty items at festivals and parades. It's a lot of fun, but also very much hectic. It's more of a hobby really although the extra income is nice to do. It's something we have done the last couple of years.





    The kids are back in school for the year. It's been a crazy time getting them both adjusted, especially my youngest who has started for the first time ever. There have been some ups and downs, and we have been considering homeschooling. However, our minds have not been made up officially yet. The kids love school, seeing their friends, etc. While I would love to have them home all the time I have to worry that I'm taking away their daily social experiences. I know I can teach them just as good if not better than the public school system, the socialization part is very important, and there are a few things they get to do at school they would not get to do at home. Still it works the other way too so a pro and con list is in the making, and it's being discussed but no decision has been made yet.





    We are gearing up for fall in our little neck of the woods. I am thrilled because fall is one of my favorite seasons. I love the changing of leaves, the crisp cool air, fall festivities and holidays, etc. It's a lovely time. Especially since usually in our part of the world summer's are scorching and winters are frigid. Fall is a nice in-between most of the time. 
    Plus I honestly love decorating for fall.





    I have a surprising bit of news to share, although I'm not ready to just yet. Waiting for the right time so stay tuned on that! :)





    I am still doing book and product reviews. I plan to continue with those, but I don't want my blog to be ALL about those. I do hope to introduce some fun giveaways here soon though, and hope to be able to get the time to come back and at least update weekly on our lives around here.



    I hope you all have been doing great! I've so missed personal blogging, and I look forward to be back to it! :) Don't be shy to drop a comment or two. I would love to connect with some of you, and if you have a blog of your own leave the blog address in the comments and I will gladly follow back! Let's show some blog love here! ;) lol

    Well that's all for right now, the household is waking up. (They all actually slept in today, go figure this is the day I would get up early when I have the chance to sleep in lol).


    Goodbye for now...until next time. :)


    Monday, August 25, 2014

    Get to know more about Middlemarch and George Elliot...a well written biography



    ::My Thoughts::
    I was quite disappointed upon reading My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead. I did finish the whole book giving it the benefit of the doubt. I was quite bored reading it though. Some parts were interesting, but mostly the allure didn't last long.
    This isn't as much of a memoir/autobiography of Rebecca Mead as it promises. From what I read of the blurbs and summary is I thought it would be about how reading Middlemarch throughout Mead's life she would explain how it shaped her. Instead this is mostly a biography of famous historical author George Eliot aka Mary Ann Evans. Mead writes many observations on Eliot's real life mostly going over what Eliot wrote in her journal as Mary Ann Evan's (Eliots real name), Eliot's books, what Mead has learned of Eliot through the years through research, etc.
    This book is mostly made up of observations and thoughts on Eliot, her books and the characters that lie therein.
    I was hoping for more substance into HOW Middlemarch shaped Mead's life. Various incidences and not just thoughts on the book itself. Mead gives a few tidbits here and there to how she related to Middlemarch at various points in her life, and how she compares herself to Eliot. But they are few and far between. When she does speak on her own life it is without the passion that she uses to speak on Eliot's life.
    I did appreciate Mead's intelligent analysis on Middlemarch by George Eliot. When it comes to books, especially historical it is very interesting to wonder what the author's life was like. How the author put their own family, friends, and even themselves into their famous works. That is mostly what Mead talks about in the book comparing Middlemarch to the actual life of George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans). It is very easy for most of us readers to identify with books we read. Often books we read affects our lives especially the more profound ones.
    If you have read Middlemarch by George Eliot I do recommend this book. It gives more insight into George Eliot in a way that is more personal compared to a study book or such. Mead definitely knows her history when it comes to George Eliot which was a great bonus.
    However, if you are looking for a good memoir that gives tons of information on someone's personal life this may not be the book for you. There are tidbits here and there like I said, but nothing substantial in which I think this book should be defined as an autobiography. A Biography is more fitting since this gives more information on George Eliot than Rebecca Mead.


    ::Interested in this book for::   Kindle   Nook   Hardcover   Paperback   MP3 CD   Audible


    ::Product Details::
    • Hardcover: 304 pages
    • Publisher: Crown (January 28, 2014)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0307984761
    • ISBN-13: 978-0307984760




    Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book as a blogging for books member in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

    Sunday, August 17, 2014

    A shocking surprise that will leave you breathless...




    ::From the back of the book::
    In a world where global power has shifted east and revolution is brewing, two women embark on vastly different journeys—each harrowing and urgent and wholly unexpected.

    When Meena finds snakebites on her chest, her worst fears are realized: someone is after her and she must flee India.  As she plots her exit, she learns of The Trail, an energy-harvesting bridge spanning the Arabian Sea that has become a refuge for itinerant vagabonds and loners on the run.  This is her salvation.  Slipping out in the cover of night, with a knapsack full of supplies including a pozit GPS system, a scroll reader, and a sealable waterproof pod, she sets off for Ethiopia, the place of her birth.

    Meanwhile, Mariama, a young girl in Africa, is forced to flee her home.  She joins up with a caravan of misfits heading across the Sahara. She is taken in by Yemaya, a beautiful and enigmatic woman who becomes her protector and confidante. They are trying to reach Addis Abba, Ethiopia, a metropolis swirling with radical politics and rich culture.  But Mariama will find a city far different than she ever expected—romantic, turbulent, and dangerous.

    As one heads east and the other west, Meena and Mariama’s fates are linked in ways that are mysterious and shocking to the core.



    ::My Thoughts::
    I have to admit, upon first beginning this book it wasn't my favorite. I was having trouble following along with the story and it was difficult to understand. However, it somehow still kept my interest. Now that I've finished the book I am glad it held my interest because once I got further along I understood a lot more. It was such a shock of a read, and I highly recommend it if you like being surprised.
    The two separate story lines aren't hard to follow after you read for awhile.
    This book is set in the future, and the author does a wonderful job of creating each character. Not one blended in with another, and they are all individual.
    My favorite thing about this book is that it is unlike any other book I have ever read. I honestly cannot compare this book to another. As it is the author's first novel also I think she not only did a wonderful job, but we have much more to look forward to from her! It was shocking, unpredictable, and compelling. There were some factors I did not like about the book. Without giving too much away I will just say the part I didn't like was one major inappropriate "relationship" involving Mariama.
    Meena is an incredibly strong but paranoid character. I did admire her determination and strength. I did feel very bad for her throughout the novel because of her insane hallucinations and beliefs. But without it the novel could not have been as thrilling.
    I say if you want a read that will shock you to your core, and leave you on the edge give this one a try! Just beware, this book is definitely not for the faint of heart.


    ::To purchase this book::
    Kindle   Nook   Paperback   Audible   Hardcover


    ::Book Details::
    • Hardcover: 336 pages
    • Publisher: Crown (May 20, 2014)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0804138842
    • ISBN-13: 978-0804138840



    Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book as a Blogging For Books reviewer. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

    Monday, August 4, 2014

    Woman of Courage by Wanda Brunstetter




    ::Description from the back of the book::
    Take a three-thousand mile journey with Amanda Pearson as she leaves the disgrace of a broken engagement and enters the work of a Quaker mission in the western wilds. The trip is fraught with danger, and Amanda is near death before reaching her destination. Among those she meets are an Indian woman who becomes her first convert and a half-Indian trapper who seems to be her biggest critic. But love follows her into the wilderness and will determine the course of her future. You are sure to enjoy this historical romance adventure from New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter.



    ::My Thoughts::
    This was a great and adventurous book. I do wish Amanda would have let loose a bit more in the sense of expressing her feelings. She is a determine, courageous, strong young woman. More than often though it was as if she should have addressed certain emotions but just bottled them up or pushed them aside. It was a tad frustrating. Buck was one of my favorite characters. Having been through so much he doesn't trust easily, and that makes it all the more intriguing. To wonder how his character will end up, and to learn more about him as the story goes on.
    The descriptions and scenes were very well written. They were accurate for the date and time setting of the book, and that comes greatly appreciated by me. I can sometimes be one of those types of readers who appreciates everything being as accurate as possible.
    It was also really nice to find a character that had an unshakable faith in God. No matter what obstacles were thrown in Amanda's path, (and believe me there are many), she didn't bat an eye with her beliefs. That was so heartwarming. And I love that the author used Quaker language with a mix of the more modern. 
    The facts about Native American's were also a good throw in for this novel, and Mary was one of my other favorite characters. She had an open mind, loving heart, and genuine spirit.
    I really think this would make a great series so I'm going to be keeping my eye out. It's so hard to try to predict what turn the story will take next. I was on the edge of my seat with anticipation flying through the pages many times. It was an enjoyable read. If you enjoy romance, adventure, and historical novels I recommend this book.






    ::Interested in purchasing this book?::
    Paperback   Kindle   Nook   Hardcover   MP3 CD   Audible

    Friday, July 25, 2014

    Willie Out West


    Willie Out West is about a young walrus who just isn't satisfied with his seemingly boring life. Believing he never gets to do anything fun he sulks until an unexpected visitor arrives seeking his help. Eager to get out of the day to day life he leads Willie sets out into the west for some adventure. Facing fears, meeting new friends, and finding himself in an unexpected situation Willie realizes that maybe his day to day life isn't so bad.

    I thought this was a cute story for children. It teaches a good lesson of being happy with what you have, and also the grass isn't always greener on the other side. It's great to have a fun story to show kids that just because you think your life is a little boring from time to time adventure isn't always that fun, and you should be grateful and thankful for the life you have.
    My kids liked the story. They were more drawn in with the illustrations rather than the story itself but they are also 6 and 3 so maybe that was somewhat of a factor in that. It was still a fun read, and they did take a little lesson from it which is good. Most importantly they did have fun reading it.



    ::Product Details:: 
    Published:
    6/28/2013
    Format:
    E-Book (available as ePub, Mobi, and PDF files)
    Pages:
    26
    ISBN:
    978-1-44979-849-9
    Print Type:
    Color



    Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this e-book as a BookLook blogger, however, all opinions expressed are solely my own.


    Monday, June 30, 2014

    Coppertone Clearly Sheer



    I was really impressed with the Coppertone ClearlySheer Sunscreen line. I mostly enjoyed the:
    Coppertone ClearlySheer for Beach & Pool with SPF 50. It was by far my favorite out of the whole line. While I did like them all I much prefer a higher SPF, and the spray is so easy to apply. My kids also thought it was a lot of fun when applying. It simply sprays on and with a quick rub absorbs into the skin in seconds. It is water resistant for 80 minutes. It's easy to transport and the bottle I had the cap closed so it wouldn't randomly spray in our beach bag. It has a very light scent to it, and nothing overpowering. It's clinically proven not to cause breakouts which is just perfect for my family as we all have very sensitive skin. It's nice to find a product that won't break the bank but gives you all the perks! I also love that it has moisturizer's in it and that leaves your skin feeling smooth and fresh while still giving you the protection you need.

    I also loved the Sunny Days sunscreens:
    While my favorite is definitely the Beach and Pool spray I also liked this one. The only thing I didn't like about it is that the SPF only goes as high as 30 and a higher SPF is always a factor for us since we spend a lot of time outside in the sun. Still it has a light clean feel on your skin, won't cause breakouts, and is hypoallergenic which is a huge plus. You can wear this on those barely sunny days, and it is also fast absorbing.
    I definitely recommend you at least trying these products out to form your own opinion. I think you will probably end up liking them as much as we did.
    I am so thankful that I got the chance to try these products out as a BzzAgent. :)



    Disclaimer: I received samples of the products I tried above for free to try as a BzzAgent. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

    Thursday, June 26, 2014

    50 Things You Need To Know About Heaven



    I was drawn to this book by the title. We are all curious about heaven. What it will be like, who will be there, what we will do there, how we get there, what it will look like, etc. The questions are endless. What we sometimes do not realize is that the Bible is filled with many answers to our questions. This book takes those passages and deciphers them into easy to understand explanations.

    This book is very easy to read, and very thorough. The author references more than one translation of the Bible, and even gives additional references at the end of each chapter that you can study more in depth on your own if you so choose.
    This is a book that you can read cover to cover, or just simply find the question you want answered in the table of contents and read the answer. Of course while this book does not answer all the questions you may have about the Bible it does have fifty which is quite a bit. It also goes to show that the answer to all of our questions are in the Bible waiting for us to find them and decipher them. In the meantime this book is a great starting point for any curious person to gain some answers.
    There are a few personal assumptions in this book from the author but for the most part this book stays on track with Scripture. We are all going to make our own assumptions from time to time anyway, and it is always refreshing to hear another person's opinion here and there.
    This book is wonderful for many curious individuals which is also a must for a great book. It can apply to Christians, those curious about Christianity, etc.
    I loved that I was able to study topics I hadn't even given thought to. Some of the fifty questions I was already curious about while some I hadn't even thought about, and was relieved to see.
    The author does not lecture or try to persuade you in anything in this book but rather sticks to what is gained from the Bible. I felt that this is a very well researched, very wonderfully written book good for anyone to read. I recommend it to everyone, and especially the fellow Christians out there such as myself always hungry for more information.


    ::Book Details::
    • Paperback: 144 pages
    • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (June 3, 2014)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0764211668
    • ISBN-13: 978-0764211669


    ::About the Author::
    Dr. John Hart (ThM, Dallas Theological Seminary; ThD, Grace Theological Seminary) is Professor of Bible at Moody Bible Institute, and he is the author of Demonology and the Mission Field. Dr. Hart lives in Valparaiso, Indiana.


    ::This book is also available in::    Paperback    Kindle    Nook 



    Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.
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