Wednesday, April 29, 2015

"Look & Find: New Testament Stories" Book Review

My little ones love to "read."  Well, they love to be read to.  And they love to pretend they are reading.  (They aren't old enough to read yet.)  But I love to get them books about the Bible.  And they love books about the Bible!  After all, kids love amazing stories, and the Bible is FULL of amazing stories! I was thrilled to add the Look & Find Bible: New Testament Stories to our collection!

Holman Rainbow Study Bible Review

I love reviewing study Bibles. I love learning about biblical history, cultural customs that affect passage, the meaning of certain Greek or Hebrew words. Its my personal opinion that you can't have too many study Bibles because they all bring a unique perspective to the study of Scripture.  For that reason, I was thrilled to get the opportunity to review the KJV Rainbow Study Bible.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

"Brave Girls: Faithful Friends" Review

"Brave Girls: Faithful Friends" is a wonderful, 90-day devotional for little girls.  If you're the mom of a young girl, this book is definitely worth a look!

Each day's devotion is just 1 or 2 pages long - which is great for young girls.  It's divided into 8 sections:

"Milk Bar Life" Cookbook Review

I actually passed on reviewing this book for a few weeks.  I review a lot of cookbooks and so I was a little "cookbooked out."  Then I saw David Chang (chef and founder of Momofuku) on the Tonight Show and he talked about Christina Tosi (the author of Momofuku Milk Mar and Milk Bar Life) and her absolute brilliance.  After that, I decided to give this cookbook a look-see.  And let me just tell you, I was SO WRONG to pass on this one for so long!!!  I haven't loved a cookbook as much as this one in a long time!!!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Architec Housewares Review

I've done a review of Architec Housewares on my blog before and, I have to say, I love their beautiful products!!!!  I'm a huge fan of fun, colorful, well-made kitchen products, and Architec Housewares definitely fits the bill!  The wonderful folks at Architec were kind enough to send me several more items for review!!!

Aurora World Inc. Celestia Unicorn Review

I recently had my third precious baby, and that means its time to think about the first birthday!  Yep.  I'm that mom that starts thinking about that first birthday when my baby is only a few months old!  Haha!  But, in my defense, I shop for presents all year long, so I'm constantly thinking of holidays and birthdays.  I always want to get my little ones something fun and memorable for their first birthday.  Well, I think I've found that great first birthday gift - Celestia the Unicorn from Aurora World Inc.!

"The Berenstain Bears God Bless Our Country" Book Review

My little ones LOVE the Berenstain Bears - and so do I - so I'm always thrilled to review any of their books!  With summer coming and the Fourth of July coming in a few months, God Bless Our Country is a great little books!

"Cookie Love" Book Review

OK.  I'm gonna confess.  Cookies are my weakness.  I love them.  Adore them.  Eat too many of them.  Haha!  So I was excited to review "Cookie Love," by Mindy Segal. I mean, seriously, what could be better than a book full of cookies!?!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Great Bible Studies For Kids

You may have seen my recent post on Great Bible Story Books For Kids.  I love books!  I love children's books!  And I love books about the Bible! So I thought I'd share with you some great Bible studies and resources for kids. (These are in no particular order.)

1.) Step Into the Bible: 100 Family Devotions to Help Grow Your Child's Faith by Ruth Graham (Zonderkidz Publishers)

There are so many things I love about this book!  For starters, it was written by Ruth Graham, the daughter of Billy Graham.  I can only imagine the wonderful family devotions and Bible studies that she had as a kid!  This book is based on the book First Steps for Little Feet Along Gospel Paths, by Charles Foster (first published in the 1800's). Miss Graham fist updated Mr. Foster's book in the 1990's.  This edition (2007) is an update of her update.  Haha!
This book literally takes you THROUGH the Bible.  I love that!  Miss Graham starts with creation and moves through the Bible step by step.  Most of the "steps " are Bible stories, like the story of Ruth or the story of Zacchaeus, but some "steps" are simply Bible passages.  For example, Step 10 is a quoting of the "Priestly Blessing" in Numbers 6:22-27.

Each "step" also contains a corresponding memory verse and questions to help parents get the discussion started with their kids. Many of the steps also contain a "parent note" to help parents get an idea of how better to communicate biblical concepts to their kids. The book also contains beautiful photographs.  Not many illustrations - actual photographs!  I think it is beautifully done!

I also think it would make a great homeschool Bible text book.  In fact, it looks very much like a beautifully done text book.  It has 100 steps, so it wouldn't last a full school year (unless you read the book approximately 3 days a week -which would give you 33.3 weeks worth of lessons).  The book also contains 5 pages in the back on "Life and Times in the New Testament" which would be a great little resource during History class as well!

2.) Devotions for the Children's Hour by Kenneth N. Taylor (Moody Publishers)

This book has a special place in my heart.  My mama used this book as a devotional for both me and my older sister.  In fact, I still have 2 very worn, old copies from my childhood!

This book is actually part of the Heart of Dakota kindergarten curriculum that we are using this year!  I love it because each devotional is just 2 or 3 pages long and its written on a very easy-to-understand level.  Each devotional ends with 3 questions (to help you gauge how much your child understood), a prayer, and a hymn to sing.  I've seen many devotionals that end with a Bible verse or prayer, but I've never seen one that ends with a hymn before.  I think that's so lovely!  I don't know all of them, so the ones I don't know I simply read.  But if I do know the hymn I sing it with the kids.

3.) The Case for the Real Jesus: A Journalist Investigates Current Attacks on the Identity of Christ by Lee Strobel (Zondervan Publishers)

This definitely isn't a book for little kids, but I wanted to include it anyway.  Its a great resource for teenagers (and adults) that want to learn more about Jesus.  I love Lee Strobel's books.  If you don't know about Mr. Strobel, he originally wrote "The Case for Christ" to recount is own journey as a journalist investigating Christ.  Mr. Strobel was an atheist and set out to disprove the "myth" of Jesus as God's Son. Along the way, the evidence was so overwhelming that he couldn't help but some to know Christ!  He's written several books since then, including "The Case for Faith" and "The Case for a Creator."  "The Case for the Real Jesus" is Mr. Strobel's defense of the traditional picture of Jesus. Many in society today are trying to "change Jesus" to fit what they believe.  Mr. Strobel defends who Jesus is from attacks such as "Jesus never rose from the dead" and "Jesus never fulfilled the Messianic prophesies. This book would make a great homeschool resource!

4.) Case For Christ For Kids by Lee Strobel (Zonderkidz Publishers)

If you like Lee Strobel's works, he's also got several books written in kid-friendly language!  The Case For Christ For Kids has recently been updated and expanded!  It includes chapters like, "Who Was In The Manger?" and "Can A Dead Man Come Back?"  Each chapter gives easy-to-understand evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ and His deity.

Just like his"grown up version" of The Case For Christ," Strobel discusses some of the accusations and conspiracy theories created by those who have tried to discredit Christ.  He then refutes each one using scientific and historic evidence.  Each chapter also has relevant Scripture passages and even definitions of important words, like "historian" and "coincidence."

5.) Case For Grace For Kids by Lee Strobel, with Jesse Florea (Zonderkidz Publishers)

Another great resource for kids, Case For Grace For Kids is a series of mini biographies that illustrate God's grace towards us.  While Case For Christ For Kids gives biblical and historical evidence for the existence of Christ, this book gives us glowing examples of God's grace and how we can apply those lessons in our own lives.

6.) KJV Kids Study Bible (Zonderkidz Publishers)

I love study Bibles!  I love learning about the historical context, the deeper meaning of certain words, etc.  This study Bible brings all of those resources to your kids!  Each book of the Bible begins with a page that explains who wrote the book, when it was written, what happens in that book, what we learn about God in that book, who is important in that book, and more!  I love the context!  Sometimes we forget that its helpful to know where and when certain events happened.  It helps us put Bible passages into perspective.

The study Bible also contains small "Did You Know" sections that explain things like "who were the judges" and "what is the gospel."  It also contains "Let's Live It" sections that bring biblical principles into perspective so that your child can apply them to their own life.  They've also highlighted several important verse in their "Words to Remember" sections.  Verses like Jeremiah 17:7 "Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is" are written in blue.  There are "Life In Bible Times" sections that give perspective on different customs and jobs in the Bible, like building walls (Ezekiel) or being a potter (Jeremiah).  And to add some color tho this Bible, there are several glossy, full-color pages that give deeper understanding on things like the Old Testament prophets, famous children of the Bible, and the life of Christ.  If you want to teach your child to really dig deeper into the Word, this is a great resource!

7.) Real Girls of the Bible 31-Day Devotional by Mona Hodgson (Zonderkidz Publishers)

As the mother of 3 daughters, I love a devotional that focuses on the women (and girls) in the Bible!  Don't get me wrong, I love the stories about Joseph and Jonah and Paul and John the Baptist.  But sometimes it helps to study people that you feel you can relate to.  I know I always tend to feel like I can put myself into the story if I'm studying Ruth or Esther or Sarah of Mary the mother of Jesus.  I wonder how I would have reacted if I had been through what they went through.
Miss Hodgson breaks this devotional up into 2 sections: Old Testament Girls and New Testament Girls. You really feel draw into the stories as Miss Hodgson often asks you to imagine if it were you.

At the end of each devotional there is a "From God's Heart" section that has a relevant Bible verse and a statement like, "I will remember God's faithfulness to me and praise Him today." Then there's a little prayer and a "Check T his Out" section where Miss Hodgson gives you some perspective on what you've just read. Some of the devotionals even have practical tips like "Real Girl Skincare Tips" or Real Girl Spiritual Armor Tips."  And I especially love a section after the story of Elizabeth (mother of John the Baptist) called "Mary and Elizabeth's Baby Development Notes."  It starts from the early weeks of pregnancy and explains how large the baby is and some of the things that are occurring during pregnancy. (I didn't particularly like that she called the baby a "fetus" instead of a baby, but I don't think there was any malintent.  I think she simply meant to explain it in scientific terms.)

8.) Thoughts To Make Your Heart Sing by Sally Lloyd-Jones (Zonderkidz Publishers)

If you've read my post on great Bible story books, then you know that I LOVE The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones!  This next book does not disappoint either!  "Thoughts To Make Your Heart Sing" is just that - a collection of Miss Lloyd-Jones' thoughts.  and its lovely!  Its not really a devotional, but I couldn't leave it out!  If you are a homeschooler, this would be a great book to open your day with!  Just a little page to make you think about God's Word.  If you're not a homeschooler, its still a great book to begin or end your day with.  If you're looking for something quick to read with your kids, this is a great choice!  Each page has Miss Lloyd-Jones' thoughts on a particular Bible verse or passage and a lovely illustration by Jago (the illustrator of The Jesus Storybook Bible).

9.) I Can Learn the Bible by Holly Hawkins Shivers (Tommy Nelson Publishers)

The book contains 52 weeks (an entire year's) worth of Bible studies.  It's broken into weeks because the book covers "52 Scriptures every kid should know."  I really like this format.  Each week contains: the Bible verse and a lovely illustration.

There's also a short explanation to go with the verse.  For example, with John 3:16, there is a short explanation of what "the gospel" is.  There's a study section with questions such as: "Why did God do this?" or informative sections like: "When Jesus cried..." These short sections give a little more insight into the lesson for the week.  There's also a prayer that corresponds with that week's lesson. For example, the section on choosing friends wisely has a prayer that begins "Dear Lord, thank You for reminding me that I need to choose my friends wisely."  And lastly, each lesson ends with the book's motto, " God's Word is for me and to me, it is in me and working through me, and just like His love, it goes on and on forever!"

10.) Duck Commander Devotions for Kids by Korie Robertson and Chrys Howard (Tommy Nelson Publishers)

This is a great devotional for elementary age kids. Its not long or complicated. The book is filled with personal stories from Kori & Willie, their kids, and their family.  - I love that Kori writes about herself and her own kids.  It really makes the little lessons come to life.  Each devotion has a Bible verse to go with it.  And each devotion ends with a little prayer.

There's also a little box with each devotion on how to put that devotion into action. - Kids often need concrete examples of "how" to do something.  For example, I can tell my four year old that she needs to love her little sisters, but she won't be quite sure "how" to put that into action.  I have to give her examples, like sharing, hugging her sister when she's sad, etc.  Kori and Chrys have a little section at the end of each devotion called "Duck Commander in Action" where they give you ideas of how to put what you've learned into action. For example, in a devotion on being generous, they suggest that the kids find a way to be generous to others, like giving away toys or clothes to someone else.

11.) Bedtime Devotions with Jesus by various authors (Tommy Nelson Publishers)

My Dad got this adorable devotional for my girls. It has 52 weeks worth of devotionals, one for each weekday and then one for the weekend.  Each week's devotionals were written by different authors, many of them Baptist pastors and their wives. There are devotionals about Jesus (how we can trust Him, how He gives us peace, how He is the "super-est).  There are devotionals about the Christian life (how we are supposed to be the light, how we are supposed to be kind, etc.).  And there are devotionals about God (how He loves us, how He created everything, how He never changes).

Each day's devotional is just one page.  Each devotion is very simple and starts with a Bible verse and ends with a little prayer.  There's also a little, one sentence recap for each one - like "I get to love God because He loves me!"  And the little  bear illustrations are simply precious!

12.) Brave Girls: Faithful Friends and Brave Girls: Better Than Perfect by Jennifer Gerelds (Tommy Nelson Publishers)

These are 2 lovely, 90-day devotionals for girls!  Each day's devotion is just 1 or 2 pages long and contains a Bible verse.  I love how Miss Gerelds has divided each devotional into sections.  "Faithful Friends" is divided into 8 sections, like: 1.) "God Is My Best Friend" - about having a relationship with God, 2.) "Bible Friends" - about several Bible characters, and 3.) "Critter Chat" - using different animals to explain biblical truths (like how geese fly together and how we as humans need to work together).

"Better Than Perfect" is divided into 6 sections, like: 1.) "Truth Detectives" - where Miss Gerelds exposes some big lies we believe, like "I always need to be right," 2.) "Divine Design" - about the magnificent world God has created, and 3.) "Character Quest" - about how to build godly character.  There are also lots of little extras, including crafts and even a chocolate chip cookie recipe!

13.) Teen People of the Bible by Daniel Darling (New Hope Publishers)

Teens can often become bored with the Bible and wonder just how relevant it is to them.  Mr. Darling does a great job in this 100-day Bible study of showing just how relevant it is by pointing out 30 young people with biblical storylines.  There are well-know teens, like Joseph and David, and lesser known teens, like Michal and Naaman's servant.

Each devotion is just 2 pages long and includes a Bible passage to read, an "action verse," and a study of the character. It also includes a "Just Like You" section (that personalizes the lesson), and a few questions to make your teen think a little deeper about what they've read.

13.) God's Names and God's Promises by Sally Michael (P&R Publishing)

This colorful, beautiful studies take 2 very important theological subjects (the meaning of God's names and the power of His promises) and bring them down to a very understandable level for your kids.  "God's Names" explains 24 of God's names, everything from "El Shaddai" to "Coming King."  Miss Michael begins by explaining the importance of a name and what names tell us about others.  Then she uses a few pages to explain each name, what it means, and why it is important to us.  

Miss Michael does the same thing with "God's Promises."  This time she points out the passages in scripture where God made a promise, the context of the story, and why it is important to us.  These are great concepts for children - and their parents! - to learn!

I received several of these titles, free of charge, from the publishers, in exchange for my honest review; however, I also purchased several of these titles myself.

14.) Every Day A Blessing by Jean Fischer (Tommy Nelson Publishers)

This is a great little devotional!  Its a years' worth of one-page devotions that you can do with your kids in just a few minutes.  The devotions are broken up into six pages per week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and the Weekend).

Each lesson has a Bible verse, a little story/illustration to go along with the verse, and a little challenge for your child to do that day (Like: "Use your imagination today to make something or to put on a show for your family").  The devotions cover topics like: God Can Do anything, God Understands Me, Will God Ever Stop Loving Me, and Gratitude for God's Creation.  If you are looking for something quick and simple that you can do with your toddler or preschool-aged child, this is a great option.

15.) Devotions for Beginning Readers by Crystal Bowman and Christy Lee Taylor (Tommy Nelson Publishers)

This is a wonderful little devotional for your beginning reader!  Its written in simple, easy to read language.  Almost every word is geared toward the reading level of pre-kindergarten to second grade.  They've also included many "sight words" to help your child get practice with those!

Each day has a short Bible verse, followed by the easy-to-read devotional (with short sentences to help your child with reading comprehension).  And lastly, there is a simple prayer that corresponds with that day's topic.  If you have a beginning reader in your home, this is a great devotional choice!  It will really give your child the feeling that they are participating in learning about God, rather than just listening to you teach them.  Its also a great way to instill of love of Bible study and time with God in your child at an early age!

"Henry Hodges Needs A Friend" Book Review

"Henry Hodges Needs A Friend" is an adorable, heart-warming story of loneliness, friendship, and God's sovereignty.

Loneliness and God's will are two subjects that are hard to discuss with kids.  If your little one is lonely or having trouble making friends, its hard to tell them, "Things will get better" and "God is in control."  With adorable illustrations (by Colleen Madden) and a cute rhyme scheme, Andy Andrews let's you little one know that, not only will things get better, but God really is in control and that He knows exactly what we need when we need it!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Mitscoots Socks Review - A Company Doing God!

I love to share with you guys when I find a company that's doing good. This is starting to become a pattern in the business world lately, and quite frankly, I wish more companies would follow suit!  We've all heard of Tom's Shoes and how they donate a pair for every pair you buy.  I've also introduced you guys to Rockin' Baby Slings - a company that, for every sling you buy, donates one to a mother in Haiti and teachers her how to use it! These are companies that really catch my attention!  After all, if I can buy a good, quality product AND know that the company is trying to make a difference in the world at the same time, that's a WIN-WIN!  Well, today I have one of those "Companies Doing Good" to introduce you to - Mitscoots!

The lovely folks at Mitscoots sent me a pair of their women's socks and three pairs of their children's socks for review...

Monday, April 6, 2015

"Trisha's Table" Book Review

I have to say, I JUMPED at the chance to review Trisha Yearwood's new cookbook!  I love her Food Network show!  She cooks delicious food and always makes it look so easy and fun!  But its not just that I love her show, my four year old daughter loves it too !  In the evenings, while we wait for Daddy to come home from work, we watch The Pioneer Woman and Trisha's Southern Kitchen. Those are two shows that we love to watch together!  I love that!  And I love that watching Trisha's show has given my daughter and interest in cooking!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Jelly Bean Salvation Story

Its Good Friday!  We finished all of our regular school work yesterday so that we could spend today doing school work that focuses on Jesus and Easter! Here's a recap of what we've done today and a little lesson that you can use with your own kids!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

"If Jesus Had a Child" Book Review

If you read my blog, you know that I using give books positive reviews.  After all, as I've mentioned before, I get to choose the books I review, so why would I knowingly pick a dud?  Haha!  Sadly, I can't give "If Jesus Had A Child" a positive review.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

"A Year of Living Prayerfully" Book Review (A MUST READ BOOK)

If you read my blog, you know I review a lot of books.  Most of them get good reviews.  (After all, I get to choose the books I want to review, so why would I choose a book I think I'm going to hate?)  But there are a few books that I consider a MUST READ.  For example, in the children's category, I consider The Jesus Storybook Bible a must read.  In the marriage category, The Fruitful Wife and Fierce Women are must reads.  And in the "autobiography/biography/hysterically funny, yet capable of making you weep" category is "A Year of Living Prayerfully: How a Curious Traveler Met the Pope, Walked on Coals, Danced with Rabbis, and Revived His Prayer Life." Its a definite, for sure, absolutely, undeniable MUST READ!!!!