Monday, April 11, 2016

Getting Artistic With Quarto Books!

There's nothing more fun that getting your craft on!  I'm a crafter at heart.  I inherited that from my mama, who inherited it from her daddy.  My problem is, unlike my mama and grandpa, I need a little "help" being creative.  Haha! With three small kids, I often feel like I don't have enough brain cells left to think things up on my own.  So I'm always thrilled to try a new artistic how-to book! 

The fine folks at Quarto Publishing Group were kind enough to send me some help, so let's take a look!

1.) Art Lab For Kids; 52 Creative Adventures In Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Paper, And Mixed Media -

Friday, April 8, 2016

Great Zonderkidz Resources for New Believers (Young Kids)

I am so thrilled to let my readers know that my oldest accepted Christ this past Sunday!  Her father and I were blessed to be able to lead her to the Lord.  Although she's young, we feel confident that she understands her decision.  But we want to make sure that we help her to grow in Christ.  So I'm always on the lookout for great books that will help her to grow.  Thankfully, the AWESOME folks at Zonderkidz agreed to share some of their newest resources with my daughter so that I can share my thoughts with my readers!

1.) Kids Quest Study Bible NIrV (Releases April 19, 2016) - Up to this point, we've been mostly using Bible story books with the kids. But we wanted to give our daughter her very own Bible to celebrate her decision to follow Christ.  The Kids Quest Study Bible is a great option!  Its an NIrV. (That means its an NIV "reader friendly" version, perfect for kids 6-10 years old.)

Learning Made Fun: Great Educational Resources From Quarto Publishing Group

As a mom of three, I'm constantly on the lookout for great books to share with my kids. And as a homeschooling mom, if I can find a great book that teaches my kids, then all the better!  Recently I came across Quarto Publishing Group while searching Amazon for some new, interesting and educational books.  The fine folks at Quarto were kind enough to send several of their titles for review.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE that they're all educational in some way!  And I love that they have something for all ages!!!  So let's take a look!

1.) Animal Parade Puzzle Book - If you have a toddler, this is a great book for you!  Not only is it a board book (no paper pages for your little one to rip), but its bright and colorful!  Your toddler will love looking at all the colorful prints on these pages!

But, to take this book up a notch, its interactive!!!  There's a puzzle piece on every page!!!  So as you're reading, your little one can remove the pieces and put the puzzle together!!!!  So cool!!!

And to add to the educational aspect of this book, it teaches little ones about the concepts of "bigger" and "smaller."  The farther along you get in the book, the bigger the animal!

Once you're finished, the puzzle pieces go right back in the book!  Fantastic!

2.) Amazing (Mostly) Edible Science - One thing that makes education more interesting is a hands-on activity!  This book is FILLED with them (and, as the name implies, most of them are edible)!

There are all sorts of experiments and activities of all different levels.  (Some are simple and some are more involved.) One of my favorites is this Candy-Cane Origami.  All you need is a handful of candy canes, tin foil, and a cookie sheet!  How fun is that!!!  And seriously, who doesn't have 100 old candy canes after Christmas?!?  I know we do!

3.) Art Lab: 52 Creative Adventures In Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Paper, And Mixed Media - My kids LOVE doing art projects!  And I love them too!  But I often find myself at a loss for a creative idea.  This book solves that problem!  There are all sorts of fantastic ideas in here - from drawing, to painting, to leaf prints.  Each idea has step-by-step directions and pictures (a MUST for people like me who do better if they can SEE what its supposed to look like).

There's also a section at the beginning of the book that has lots of helpful hints for setting up an art space, working with others, etc.

4.) Nature's Day: Discover The World Of Wonder On Your Doorstep - This is a BEAUTIFUL BOOK!  I'm so impressed by it! Its a large, hardback book, full of beautiful illustrations. 

Its divided up by seasons, which makes it a fantastic educational source!  Each season has 8 sections: the backyard, the veg garden, the woods, the farm, the fields, the pond, the orchard, and the street.

Each section has beautiful illustrations and lots of information to help you and your child learn more about the world around you!  Take your child for a walk and see how many things you can find and learn about!  Have a picnic outside and read the book to learn! SO lovely!

5.) Nature's Day: Out And About - If you REALLY want an interactive nature experience, I highly recommend you get this newly released workbook to go along with the book mentioned above!

Written by the same author, and with the same format - broken up by season - this book takes you on a great treasure hunt through the world around you! 

Your child can learn about different types of flowers and birds and then draw the ones that they see around them.  They can color beautiful scenes of the different seasons. 

And they can learn how to do awesome crafts and activities - like how to make a daisy chain, how to do leaf rubbings, and how to make ice art. 

This is a great way to get your child interested in nature!

6.) The Secret Life Of A Snowflake: An Up-Close Look At The Art & Science Of Snowflakes - If your kids are anything like mine, they're obsessed with Frozen right now.  This book is a FANTASTIC way to take a subject that they are interested in and use it as a teaching opportunity!

This book is amazing!  Beautiful pictures of all sorts of snowflakes, plus tons of incredible information.  There's even a page to teach them how to make paper snowflakes!  This book is lovely and fascinating!  The photographs are particularly fascinating!

7.) Enchanted Coloring Book: Magical Images To Make Your Own - I know what you're thinking.  How is a coloring book educational?  As a homeschooling mom, I learned something very quickly -  my five year old actually listens MUCH better if she has something to do with her hands!  If I tell her to just sit and listen, odds are she will be distracted in half a second.  But if I let her color while I read, I'm amazed at how much she absorbs!

So coloring books are very important to our schooling!  This book is beautiful and intricate enough for an adult to enjoy, but the pages are not so intricate that my daughter can't enjoy them as well.

8.) Bletchley Park: The Secret Archives - This final book isn't for small children, but its definitely educational!  With the recent film, The Imitation Game (about Alan Turing and the breaking of the Enigma Code during WW2), Bletchley Park is back in the news!  Bletchley Park, once an estate, was used during the war as the central location for Britain's famous codebreakers. 

This beautiful, hardbound book is full of the fascinating history of this place and the people who worked there!

There's also tons of extras!  There are several "pockets" with drawings and copies of actual codes and notes that the codebreakers made!

There's even a copy of a poster used to remind military men to be careful not to spill secrets when they're out on a date!  LOL!  So interesting and definitely a collectors item for anyone interested in the codebreakers or WW2 in general!

This book is extremely fascinating!  As soon as my husband got home from work last night, he spent half an hour just flipping through it.  It looks like we'll be fighting over who gets to read it first! 

I received these books, free of charge, from Quarto Publishing Group, in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

"Proof Pirates Family Devotional" Review

As a Christian parent, one thing I struggle with is balancing discipline with grace.  We want to teach our kids to obey, to be productive members of society, and to understand good behavior.  But, at the same time, its a very tight rope to walk.  I want my kids to obey, but I don't want them to think that my love - or, worse yet, God's love - is dependent on performance.  "Proof Pirates" is a family devotional/children's book that covers this very subject!

"Baby Wren And The Great Gift" Book Review

If you read my blog or follow me on social media, you know how much I love Sally Lloyd-Jones' Jesus Storybook Bible!  Its so beautifully written!  Her book, "Thoughts To Make Your Heart Sing," is another favorite.  So I'm always excited when I see she's publishing a new book!  And she's got a new book out that's PERFECT for Spring - "Baby Wren And The Great Gift"!

Zucchini Bread Muffins

The other day I made a delicious Sausage And Veggie Pasta Bake for dinner.  It had zucchini and yellow squash.  But after I was done, I still had one large zucchini and one large yellow squash left over.  I hate letting fruits of veggies go to waste, so I decided to make some zucchini bread.  (I've got a plan for that yellow squash as well, and if its successful I'll blog the recipe!)

Friday, March 11, 2016

Sausage And Veggie Pasta Bake

Anyone else have trouble getting your kids to eat veggies?  I was so proud of myself as a first-time mom.  My little two-year old ate everything.  Now I have three kids and dinner time is often a battle.  But I'm not giving in!  My kids are gonna eat veggies if it kills me! 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Support Tessie Odom Smith's Recovery (GoFundMe) - EMS Strong!

Yesterday, EMS in my hometown suffered a horrible tragedy.  While responding to an emergency call, two paramedics were hit head-on by a driver under the influence.  One paramedic survived with minor injuries, but Tessie suffered life-threatening injuries.  She suffered bilateral femur fractures, pelvis and ankle fractures and dislocations, and some extremely serious injuries. 

Right now she's in the surgical ICU, having already had 2 surgeries.  She's nearly left us several times, but her EMS brothers and sisters, and the doctors and nurses treating her have fought hard to keep her here.  And, as you can see from the picture above, God is obviously not ready to take Tessie yet.  I don't usually post things like this on my blog, but anyone in the first responder family knows that we are a close-knit group and take care of our own!  Please pray for Tessie, her family, her doctors and nurses, and her first responder family.  And, if you feel so inclined, consider helping out on her gofundme page...  Tessie Odom Smith's Recovery Fund

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

"Mission Acomplished: A Two-Week Family Easter Devotional" Review

Easter is coming, you guys!  Easter is one of my VERY FAVORITE holidays!  We love to celebrate with stories, crafts, and activities in our home!  (You can check out some of my Easter posts here: Celebrating 12 Days of Easter, Easter At Our House, Jelly Bean Salvation Story.)  I'm always looking for new and creative ways to get our minds on Jesus, so finding great Easter resources is always a goal.  And the folks at New Growth Press have an awesome resource for my family and yours! - Mission Accomplished: A Two-Week Family Easter Devotional, by Scott James.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Great Bible Journaling/Adult Coloring Supplies From Zondervan

If you haven't heard of Bible journaling or adult coloring, then where have you been for the past year?  Because these two topics are both HUGE trends right now!  People have known for years that art was a stress-reliever.  Studying the Word of God is also a stress-reliever. Put those two things together and you've got a wonderful phenomenon!!!  Every Christian book publisher I can think of is jumping on the train!  And I love that!  It means there are tons of journaling Bibles and Christian-themed color books to choose from!  But the folks at Zondervan have sent me some of their supplies and, I've gotta say, I loved EACH AND EVERY thing they sent!  So let me show you!