Thursday, January 29, 2015

Motivating Children to Do the Right Thing without Being Told!

If you're looking for a new parenting tool to digest, you've gotta check out this book:  Motivate Your Child: A Christian Parent's Guide to Raising Kids Who Do What They Need to Do Without Being Told.  It is power-packed with advice for parents seeking to raise godly children that take the initiative to live with integrity.  I'm only halfway through the book, and I've already dog-eared several pages for future reference.  It's easy to read because it's filled with stories that parents will relate to - both everyday family stories and stories from the Bible.  It's filled with strategies to help change children's behavior by reaching their hearts.

They focus their teaching around 4 components of conscience:  doing the right thing, dealing with wrongs, being honest, and caring for others.  I appreciated the checklist they included for helping to measure your child's progress in the four areas.  I've been practicing their techniques for teaching kids to take initiative and reinforcing the importance of integrity. I can almost hear Turansky and Miller speaking into my life as I seek to nurture my 3 children. I'll post more as I finish the book.

Wanna know more?
Participate in tonight's facebook party (and win goodies!).
Register for a giveaway of tons of parenting products.
Pick up the book at your favorite bookseller, and read it with a friend.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Teaching Children God's Word

I'm always looking for creative ways to teach our children scripture.  We're not good about memorizing it, but we do talk about scripture a lot and we have scriptures in kid-friendly art throughout the house.  I'm also trying to introduce the kiddos to devotions through age-appropriate methods.  I was excited to get the opportunity to review the new "I Can Learn The Bible" by Holly Hawkins Shivers, because it seemed like a great fit for our family.  It's great!

It's a cute book - hardback, inviting graphics, and friendly fonts.  There are 52 studies in the book, one for each week in the year.  Each study starts out with a scripture page, then a short 2.5 page story devotional, then a prayer.  The stories are not Bible stories - they are stories and ideas to help explain the week's scriptures though child-friendly stories and definitions.  The cute pictures also help illustrate the points from the stories.  The forward and the appendix also have tips for memorizing the weekly scriptures.

I think this is a great devotional for elementary age kids, and I highly recommend it to other families.

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Book Review: The Perfect Score

My son is preparing to take his first college entrance exam.  He's only in 7th grade, so it's the pre-version of the test.  Nevertheless, when I saw this book, The Perfect Score Project: One Mother's Journey to Uncover the Secrets of the SAT, I jumped at the opportunity to review it.

It probably is the perfect book for some people, (it gets great reviews on amazon!), it's just not for me.  I was bored.  I couldn't get into it.  I did appreciate some of the tips in the text boxes, but it was a much more tedious read than I expected it to be. 

Nevertheless, I'm going to pass the book along to our college counselor, to see if they will enjoy the book.  The content is good; it's just not for me.

Disclaimer:  I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Self care is not selfish

Visiting with friends today, I was reminded of the importance of moms reminding each other to take care of ourselves.  We need to encourage each other to take time to rest, exercise and fellowship with friends.  We need to remind ourselves to take care of our bodies - getting enough sleep (even if it means leaving the laundry unfolded) and eating well (even if we're grabbing veggies on the go).  We need to steal away to have time with out spouses without the munchkins around.

We need to give ourselves permission to say no to good things, so we have the energy to say YES to the tasks that God has designed for us to do.  We need to say no without feeling guilty, but instead, to be willing to give what we have the capacity to give (no, I can't make 100 cupcakes for the fundraiser this weekend, but I don't mind making a dozen or two) (no, I can't come help in the class every week, but I would love to come the first Tuesday of each month!). 

Self care is not selfish.  Self care is taking care of our hearts, minds and bodies, so we have the physical, mental, spiritual and emotional energy to take care of our hubbies, our kiddos, and the other important things that God wants us to do.

Pray that God would help you clearly see the mission he has on the horizon for you.  Pray that he would help you clearly see what tasks you need to do, what needs to go on the backburner, and what you need to say no to.  Pray that God would refresh your mind, body and soul, so you can do HIS good works and give him glory.  Pray that he would use these broken vessels of ours, fill them up with HIS strength, and use us to shine light in this dark world.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Bible Review: The Evangelism Study Bible

Sturdy hardback bible with a fishing net on the cover that matches the cover scripture, "follow me , and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19.
Open the bible and you will find a presentation page followed by a list of all the evangelism articles that are organized by books of the bible.  I'm  guessing that there are over 200 half page articles related to evangelism, such as:
  • How to explain the gospel clearly
  • How to overcome fear in evangelism
  • Humility and evangelism
  • Ministering to the poor
  • Your past-no problem
  • How to reach children who are rebellious
There are also cross references and footnotes that help readers recognize evangelism messages  throughout the old and New Testament.  Scrolling to the end of the bible, there is a 3 page glossary of evangelistic bible terms, and a very long concordance. Finally there is a 3 page outline of how to share the gospel, several pages for taking notes and an index to the 14 colorful pages of maps.
This would be a great resource for any teen or Adult that wants to know more about evangelism, and gather tools to help share the good news of Christ with others.
I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Book Review: Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden

I just finished reading Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden, and I miss it already.  I got lost in this 1897 historical fiction story of politics, mystery, romance and intrigue.  I loved struggling with the characters as they battled honesty, anger, jealousy, and fear.  And I loved enjoying their adventures in love, friendship, family and loyalty.  I loved the Christian messages of courage and forgiveness.  Camden does a great job whisking her readers into another century and drawing them into the daily lives of her characters.  I look forward to reading more Camden novels in the future!

More from the publisher:  "Anna O'Brien leads a predictable and quiet life as a map librarian at the illustrious Library of Congress until she stumbles across the baffling mystery of a ship disappeared at sea. Thwarted in her attempts to uncover information, her determination outweighs her shyness and she turns to a dashing congressman for help... Opposites in every way, Anna and Luke are unexpectedly drawn to each other despite the strict rules forbidding Anna from any romantic entanglements with members of Congress. From the gilded halls of the Capitol where powerful men shape the future of the nation, to the scholarly archives of the nation's finest library, Anna and Luke are soon embroiled in secrets much bigger and more perilous than they ever imagined. Is bringing the truth to light worth risking all they've ever dreamed for their futures?"

I would recommend this book to any reader age 14+.  The content is appropriate for younger readers, but I think it would better suit the interest of readers ages 14+.  I look forward to sharing the book with my reading friends.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Motivate Your Child - an Awesome Giveaway with prizes worth nearly $800!

How many times have I asked the question, "How can I get my child to WANT to do the right thing?", or "How can I get him to DO this withOUT me asking?", or "When will they look around to see what needs to be done or how they need to ask withOUT a prompting from me?"  Don't get me wrong - I'm not looking for the easy way out and I'm not trying to be lazy.  I want to diligently train our children to be like Christ - kind, responsible, and servant-hearted.  But sometimes I wonder if I'm training them in the best way.  I need God to whisper his wisdom into my ears, so I clearly see the right way to parent. 

Enter the announcement of a new book:  Motivate Your Child: A Christian Parent's Guide to Raising Kids Who Do What They Need to Do Without Being Told.  When I was invited to be a part of the review and launch team, I jumped at the opportunity because I knew other moms would be hungry for the same wisdom I needed.  My copy came in the mail today, and I can't wait to read it!!

To celebrate the release of the book, members of the Launch Team are sharing a wonderful giveaway filled with a Go Pro Camera, $50 Mardel Gift Card, $25 Amazon Gift Card, and book bundles from both the National Center for Biblical Parenting and Thomas Nelson Publishing! Three winners will win prizes with a total value of nearly $800! motivate your child giveaway Here’s what you could win: 

GRAND PRIZE  ($500+ value)

Go Pro HERO3+ Silver Camera ($300 value)

HERO3+ Silver captures gorgeous, professional-quality 1080p60 video and 10MP photos at speeds of up to 10 frames per second. Built-in Wi-Fi enables you to use the GoPro App to control the camera remotely, preview shots and share your favorites on Facebook, Twitter and more. Compatible with all GoPro mounts, you can wear it or attach it to your gear for immersive POV footage of your favorite activities. It’s waterproof to 131’ (40m) and built tough for all of life’s adventures. Combined with stunning low-light performance, high-performance audio and an ultra wide-angle glass lens, HERO3+ Silver makes capturing and sharing your life easier than ever.  

NCBP Book Bundle ($115 value)

 The Christian Parenting Handbook  and Companion Guide Parenting is Heart Work God's Awesome Story Hero Training Camp Children's Curriculum


Thomas Nelson Book Bundle ($90 value):

The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst  Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson   Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine  All Pro Dad by Mark Merrill  The Passionate Mom by Susan Merrill 


FIRST PRIZE ($165 value)

$50 Mardel Gift Card


NCBP Book Bundle ($115 value)

The Christian Parenting Handbook  and Companion Guide Parenting is Heart Work God's Awesome Story Hero Training Camp Children's Curriculum


SECOND PRIZE ($115 value)

$25 Amazon Gift Card


Thomas Nelson Book Bundle ($90 value):

The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst  Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson   Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine  All Pro Dad by Mark Merrill  The Passionate Mom by Susan Merrill

To enter, click on this a Rafflecopter giveaway link.
Giveaway dates: January 12, 2015 through January 28, 2015 @ 11:59pm ET

Terms and Conditions: This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.  Void where prohibited by law. Must be at least 18 years of age. This giveaway is in no away associated with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Amazon. No purchase necessary for entry. Odds are determined by the number of entries. Selected winner will have 48 hours to respond to email notification to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn. 


Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Dinner Tonight - White Chicken Chili

My old neighbor shared this recipe with me, and I've been tweaking it over the years.  It's a favorite of my family, and we love to double the recipe to share.  Tonight, we're making for 2 friends with cute new babies!

White Chicken Chili


1 onion – chopped

2 cloves fresh garlic (finely chopped)

Small can jalapenos or chiles

2T oil (to sauté onions)

1 stick butter (1/4 lb)

8 oz cream cheese (soften and/or cube so it melts and mixes easy)

2 C milk

2 C chicken broth

3T flour

~ 1 t ground cumin

~  1 t ground ginger

~ 1 t oregano leaves

cayenne pepper sauce

salt & white pepper

3 cans white beans

1 rotisserie chicken, pull off and shred 

8 oz shredded cheddar cheese (white sharp cheddar if desired)



Saute onions, garlic and jalapenos in small pan until tender – set aside

In a large saucepan, melt the butter and cream cheese, then add chicken broth and milk.  Whisk ‘til smooth.  Add spices and flour, then whisk ‘til smooth.  Add grated cheese and whisk ‘til smooth.

Add all ingredients to saucepan or crockpot– it’s ready, but it gets better if you have time to let it stand …

Friday, December 26, 2014

Tidying Up!

I've been on a mission to neaten, tidy and brighten our home, so I was thrilled to get the opportunity to review a book on tidying!  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing was exactly what I needed to teach and motivate me.

Her how-to book is short and easy to read - 206 small pages.  It's full of stories and strategies.  Don't expect an idea book on home storage!  This book is all about getting superfluous stuff out of your house and holding onto the stuff that brings you joy.  She takes you step by step through clothes, books, papers, and memorabilia.  She will challenge you to touch every item in your house and decide whether or not it really fits you and your family.

Since reading her book, I've taken 7 big bags to our charitable thrift shop and I have 2 more bagged and ready to go.  Already life feels more simple and clutter free.  This will REALLY help as we bring baby #4 into our family, because we will have stuff for adults, teens, children and babies around the house!

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Book Review: The Heretic

I tried to read The Heretic, but found it to be too dry and complex for me.  I decided  to hand it off to my 13-year old son who is an avid reader, and often likes books like this.  So this is his review:

Plot: 5 stars
Writing style:  4 stars
Characters:  5 stars

I liked all of the action - hiding, pursuing...  adventures at every turn.  The characters are very diverse.  There is a monk, a leper, and 3 children with heretic parents.  The story about how the children hide from the authorities who have wrongfully accused their parents.

It's definitely written for an academically mature audience.  The vocabulary is advanced - readers will need a dictionary on hand as they read! The Old English setting might be unfamiliar to readers, so like me, it might be challenging to understand some of the storyline.  The author sometimes takes a round-about route to get to his point - that's probably why the book is so long!

I would recommend this book for adult readers (perhaps 16+) that have a dictionary on hand!

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Book Review: The Daughter of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky

I was sad to finish this light-hearted and captivating historical christian novel from Carrie Turansky.  The author whisks readers away to London in the early nineteen hundreds and lets us experience the struggles and aspirations of high culture and people living in poverty.  The main character is young Kate, and her coming of age in the glamour of London society, but she is surrounded by family, suitors, maids and people living in poverty.  She does a great job developing her characters and readers will easily identify with some of the struggles characters faced.  I especially appreciated the themes of vocational calling, essential qualities to seek in a marriage partner, service to the poor, and family relationships.  I look forward to reading Turanksy's next book!

I would recommend this book to any female reader age 14+.  The content is appropriate for 12+, but I'm not sure younger girls would be interested in the storyline.

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.