Monday, March 30, 2015

Slap Yo Mama Pork Chops

Ok folks.  This recipe comes with a little story.  Have you ever heard of the "Yips"?  If you're a sports fan, then you probably have.  Basically, its an athlete that experiences the unexplainable loss of fine motor skills - like a short stop that who all of a sudden keeps overthrowing first base, or a pro golfer who can't make a 6 inch putt.  Its basically a run of bad luck.  Well, every once in a while, I get what I call the "cooking yips."  Every so often I have a few days where I can't seem to cook anything right - even recipes I've made forever.  I drop things, burn things, forget basic ingredients...  Its utterly frustrating.

Friday, March 27, 2015

"True Woman 101: Divine Design: An Eight Week Study On BiblicalWomanhood" Book Review

I've preface this review by saying that I'm a bit biased.  I love pretty much ANYTHING that Nancy Leigh DeMoss has written!  She's an incredible writer and has a real gift for teaching God's word to women!  And Mary Kassian is no slouch either!  "True Woman: Divine Design: An Eight Week Study On Biblical Womanhood" is lives up to that standard!

"Really Woolly Nighttime Lullabies" Book Review

My little ones have a couple of the "Little Wooly" books and we love them! They are precious and do a lovely time of teaching little ones about God's Word.  "Little Woolly Nighttime Lullabies" is no exception!

"Fierce Women" Book Review

I review a lot of religious books and Bible studies. Its one of my favorite types of books to review.  And I've read some ones that were just "OK" and some that were INCREDIBLE.  "Fierce Women: The Power of a Soft Warrior," by Kimberly Wagner definitely fits into that second category.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood" Book Review

I have to admit, I often feel overwhelmed by motherhood - especially now that I have three small children.  Preschool dramatics, terrible twos, and newborns are a dangerous combination.  I often feel like I'm failing terribly.  That's why I love any good Bible studies on motherhood.  So I was very happy to get to review "Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood," by Melissa B. Kruger.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Great Bible Story Books for Kids

One of my favorite times of the day is the kids' bedtime.  If you have kids, you know what I mean!  Haha!  But its not just the promise of a little relaxation for myself that makes this one of my favorite times.  Its also the fact that, from the kitchen while I'm loading the dishwasher, I can hear my husband reading the nightly bedtime story.  That just blesses me heart!  Any opportunity that we have to plant and water the seeds of the gospel in their little hearts is a blessing.  So I thought I'd share some of my favorite Bible story books with all of my readers.  These are books that we personally own and use with our kids.  If you have any other suggestions of great Bible story books, please leave me a comment and let me know!  I'd love to see what everyone else is reading!

This first one is an ALL TIME FAVORITE.  Seriously.  Favorite.  As in, we've read it dozens of times and never get tired of it!  There are very few books that I would DEMAND you get immediatety.  This is one.  Its a must.  A MUST.  Its The Jesus Storybook Bible, written by Sally Lloyd-Jones and illustrated by Jago...

I can't say enough about this story book Bible.  From the words to the illustrations, its FANTASTIC!  So why is this book different from all the other story book Bibles out there?  Well, its Sally Lloyd-Jones' writing style.  She has a way of explaining the stories in simple, yet beautiful terms.  The subtitle for this book is "Every Story Whispers His Name" and the purpose of the book is to show how, from Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is the story of a great rescue.  And each Bible story ends with a glimpse of Jesus.  Sally Lloyd-Jones' writing is so poignant and touching that I cry at the end of each story.  Each. And. Every. One.  Why because she never lets you forget about Jesus!  Here's a passage from the Old Testament story of Joseph:
"One day, God would send another Prince, a young Prince whose heart would break.  Like Joseph, he would leave his home and his father.  His brothers would hate him and want him dead.  He would be sold for pieces of silver  He would be punished even though he had done nothing wrong.  But God would use everything that happened to that Prince - even the bad things - to do something good: to forgive the sins of the world."
Another great thing about this book is the illustrations.  Jago is an incredibly talented illustrator, and his talents are on full display in this collection.  His illustrations are colorful, fun,  and pleasant to the eye.

The second story Bible that I'd like to share with you is The Gospel Story Bible, written by Marty Machowski and illustrated by A.E. Macha...

Once again, this is a Bible story book that centers around the story of Jesus.  Mr. Machowski ends each story with an explanation of how it fits into the "bigger picture" of the gospel.  Here's a excerpt from the story of David...
"Did you notice that the last line of Psalm 23 tells us that David will live in the house of the Lord forever?  There is only one way we can live in heaven with God forever, and that is by trusting in Jesus and what he has done on the cross.  Often David's psalms give us a hint of the Lord's coming salvation through Jesus.  And some of his psalms, like Psalm 22, are wonderful prophesies foretelling God's plan to save us through Jesus."
While this story book doesn't make me weep every time I read it like The Jesus Storybook Bible does, I still find it wonderful! Mr. Machowski does a great job of explaining the stories in a way that children can understand.  And I love that each story has a "Let's Talk About It" section at the end with 3 questions to help you get a conversation started with your kids.

This book is another one with incredible illustrations.  The pictures by A.E. Macha are bright and eye-catching - which is exactly what you want with little ones!  And not only are the illustrations bright and colorful, but the actual pages are too!  The look of this book is just wonderful!

Next is Brave Girls Bible Stories, by Thomas Nelson Publishing ...

As the cover states, this book celebrates the women of the Bible.  I love that they've included well-known women, such as Eve, Rachel and Leah, Esther, Sarah, and Mary.  But I especially love that they've included lesser-known women, such as Shiphrah and Puah (the midwives in the story of Moses' birth) and Rhoda (from Acts 12).  If you have a little girl and you want her to learn from some great biblical examples, this book is a must!  (Plus, what girl wouldn't want a pink bible story book?)


Another GREAT and BRAND NEW Bible story book is the Believe Storybook by Randy Frazee (Zonderkidz)...

Written by Randy Frazee as part of his "Think, Act, Be Like Jesus" program, this Bible story book has a unique format.  Instead of a section of Old Testament stories followed by a section of New Testament stories, Mr. Frazee has divided the story book into 3 sections.  The "Think" section gives 10 chapters on the beliefs of the Christian life.  The "Act" section gives 10 chapters on the practices of Christian life.  And the "Be" section gives 10 chapter on the virtues of the Christian life.  Each chapter has an Old Testament story AND a New Testament story to help answer the "Key Question."  And there's a "Jump to Jesus" section and a "Jesus Answer" section to help kids see the "big story" of salvation throughout the Bible.  Its wonderfully simple and yet beautifully done!  I'm really loving this one!!!

Next is The Beginner's Bible, by Zonderkids, illustrated by Kelly Pulley...

This is an adorable little story book that's perfect for small ones.  Each story is several pages long, but each page only has a few sentences, so its not too much for little minds - or little bottoms - to endure.  Haha!  The storytelling is also very simple and easy to understand - perfect for toddlers.

The illustrations are also very simple, yet adorable.  Little ones will love looking at these cute characters with big eyes.

The next is The Story-Time Bible in Pictures, by Kenneth N. Taylor.  We received this story Bible has part of our oldest's homeschool curriculum and we love it. The stories are all 2 to 3 pages and are very quick reads.  Each story ends with several questions to help you begin a discussion with your kids, and then there's a Bible reference so that you can follow up with the actual Bible reading if you wish.

The illustrations in this story book are not as bright as some of the other books, but they are just as lovely and compelling.  In fact, the illustrations were the first thing my husband commented on when he saw this one for the first time. They remind me of the pictures from the story book Bibles I had as a child - almost as if they were paintings.

The NKJV Adventure Bible.  Its actually not a "story book Bible," but an actual study Bible.  This is perfect for an older child (upper elementary age) because its a Bible they can read and study on their own.

This study Bible also has little study sections for kids to read.  A "Life in Bible Times" snippet gives them a little explanation of how certain things were done in bibilical times. A "Live It" section brings what they've learned into focus and helps them apply it to their own lives.  There are also several lovely, colorful pages with helpful things like: "Two Week Reading Plan on Jesus' Life" and "How To Pray."

Since I mentioned the Adventure Study Bible, I thought I'd also mention The Adventure Study Bible for Toddlers.

This is a board book, so its perfect for toddler hands!  And its also harder to tear apart!  The theme of this story book Bible (and the theme of the NKJV Adventure Bible) is that the Bible is a great - and TRUE - adventure!  

The pages are bright and colorful.  The text is simple and easy to read. And it starts with creation and ends with Jesus ascension into Heaven.  I love that the last page (where Jesus is taken up to Heaven) says, "The adventure wasn't over when Jesus went to heaven. The most important thing has yet to happen!  Jesus is coming back!"

The Berenstain Bears Storybook Bible

I LOVE the Berenstain Bears!  And so do my girls!  So I was thrilled to get this storybook Bible! This storybook Bible tells 23 Bible stories, from creation to the story of Paul. But what makes this Bible storybook different than others is that it starts out like a Berenstain Bears story.  Brother, Sister, and Honey can't agree on what kind of bedtime story they want Papa to read to them, so he suggests a Bible story.  He tells them that "the Bible has all kinds of stories - exciting ones, nice ones, happy ones, even serious ones."  Then he begins with creation and tells them the 23 stories.  

Each story is illustrated with Berenstain Bear characters as the Bible characters.  So cute!!!
Words to Dream On: Bedtime Bible Stories and Prayers by Diane Stortz

This Bible story book is lovely!  The illustrations are incredible - colorful and beautiful!  Each story begins with a Bible reference.  I love that because you use it to go to the Biblical text if you wish.  Each story also has a "Words to Dream On" section, which is a relevant Bible verse.  After the story (which is just a couple of pages long) there's a "Sleepy-Time Prayer" and then a "Bedtime Blessing," which is a recap of what the story teachers.  For example, the "Bedtime Blessing" for the story of Jesus' birth states, "God sent Jesus to the world - and to you."  This is a lovely, colorful, fun Bible story book to read to your kids at bedtime. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

"The Berenstain Bears' Country Cookbook"

We LOVE the Berenstain Bears in our house!  The stories are cute and teach great lessons.  And they have some of the cutest illustrations ever!  That's why I was thrilled to get the chance to review their new cookbook!!!

"The Story for Kids" Book Review

The Story for Kids is a great storybook Bible for elementary age kids. Its a Bible that reads like a novel! With 31 chapters, it covers many of the greatest stories in the Bible, from Creation to Revelation.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Erin Condren Teacher Planner Review and Discount!

I'm back with another Erin Condren review! You know how much I LOVE all things Erin Condren!!!  This time its her Teacher Planner and, once again, I'm in love!!!  I just started homeschooling this week, and although this planner is set up for a teacher in a public of private school setting, it can also work great for homeschooling with just a few adjustments!  So let me walk you through the planner and show you all the awesomeness.  To begin with, its 9" wide by 11.5" long, so there's plenty of room to keep track of everything. And I love that its coil bound, so it lays flat and is easy to write in.

Inside the front cover is a place for you to write your name and number or school name, etc.  And then there's a colorful title page.  Erin Condren loves color and so do I!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

"Salad Love" Book Review

I love a good salad.  Seriously.  It floats my boat!  Which is hilarious since I'm the farthest thing from a "healthy food person."  Haha!  But I was more than happy to review this book full of salad recipes to give me some new and fresh ideas!

"Duck Commander Devotions for Kids" Book Review

I have to say, I'm a big fan of Duck Dynasty.  I think its hilarious.  But more importantly, when I watch the show, I genuinely feel like they are people that I'd be friends with.  And I love their sweet testimony, so I was thrilled when I saw that Kori had written a kids' devotional.

"Only God Can Make A Kitten" Book Review

I thought this book would be "cute and fun," but it was so much more!  From the rhymes to the illustrations, to the purpose of the book, this one's a keeper!!!

The title of this book is a little misleading.  Its not all about kittens.  But its still adorable!  The story takes place as a mother and her two young children participate in certain activities - like playing outside and swimming in the ocean.