Sunday, November 08, 2015

Love Everlasting by Tracie Peterson

I totally expected to love this book, so I was disappointed that I didn't get lost in the storyline immediately.  I almost gave up on the story, but I'm glad I kept going because I really enjoyed the second half of the book.  I'm not sure why it took me so long to get hooked (honestly, it could be that i have a short attention span with a new baby in the house!), but once the pace of the story picked up, I didn't want to put the book down.  A little bit of mystery, a little bit of adventure, suspense, and falling in love = a great combination for a novel.  You will easily feel the struggles that the main character wrestles with - fear, love, faith, friendship, betrayal, defeat, loyalty, and feeling overwhelmed.  You will also find your spirits buoyed as she chooses to trust in God's provision and care during dire circumstances.  I would recommend this book to any female reader age 14+.  Disclaimer: I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Teaching Girls to Fix Their Hair

My daughter and I have been talking a lot about hair care and styling hair lightly, so this book, "Best hair book ever!" was perfect to read when it came in the mail. It is so cute, and so well done. The articles on hair care are simple, practical, and very helpful. The hairstyles are quite diverse in time and talent required. I love that it's a very balanced look at taking care of your hair, instead of getting caught up in fashion pressure. I'm thrilled to put this kind of tool and my daughters hands. I would recommend this book to any girl age 9 to 16. I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Diaper Changing Stations

It's been 9 years since we had a newborn in the house, and there are so many things I don't remember!  One thing I don't remember is having multiple diaper changing stations in the house.  It's definitely something I appreciate now, as our family stays constantly on the move with the older children (9, 10 and 13).  We have one changing station in the nursery, one in our bedroom, and one downstairs.  Each changing station is simple - diapers, wipes and a toy to keep him busy during diaper changes.  But having multiple stations saves steps during the day, and therefore helps with my sanity!  I'd love to hear your tips for keeping life simple with a large family!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Beach with Baby!

When we took our 7-month baby to the beach, I wasn't quite sure how to prepare.  That's hard on me, because I like to plan and prepare for everything!

Knowing that my son had just started crawling, and knowing that everything he touches goes into his mouth, and knowing that he loves to explore; I knew it would be an interesting experience.  I'm grateful to say that he loved the beach!  Here are some things that helped us:

*chair & umbrella service - so we didn't have to lug anything else to the beach!
*an extra umbrella to shelter the baby during play and naps
*a cheap inflatable baby pool (thank you Jessica for this advice!) that gave him a confined non-sandy play space
*a handful of toys and balls to put in his pool play area
*lots of snuggles as we ventured into the water.  The sudden changes in the waves made him nervous, but he enjoyed it as long as mom & dad held him close.
*building his own sand piles that he could bat down (instead of batting down the castles his siblings were building)
*disposable swim diapers!  Our LO only poops every 3-4 days, so on the days we knew he wouldn't poop, we used washable swim diapers, but on the 'he might poop' days, we used disposable diapers.  The best thing about them is that you can rip the sides open to get the diapers off - limiting exposure to poop & eliminating the challenge of sliding a wet sticky diaper off a baby.
*jogging stroller to cart LO and stuff to beach (though it was too hard to push on the sand)

What have you learned to make baby beach time safe and fun?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Oops and Ouchies

Our LO is crawling like crazy now, so I didn't think twice about letting him crawl around in a friend's driveway the other day, as I sat down beside him.  Little did I know that the paved surface would rub the top of his feet and cause little ouchies!  Poor little guy!  Guess I'll need to start putting socks/shoes on for his outdoor adventures now.
We live & learn, huh?

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Tech and Travels

Our family of 6 went to the beach with my parents last week.  We didn't have a car DVD player, so my mom offered to get us a portable DVD player for the car to help my constantly on-the-move 7-month old baby sit still happily.  It was such a blessing to us on our trip - especially when he decided to stay awake almost the whole trip from Florida to Tennessee!  We didn't use it constantly - he still had independent play with toys, playtime with siblings/parents, and quiet rest time.  But when he was tired of sitting still, it was a HUGE help with keeping him happy.  The rest of us were very grateful for a little bit of technology during our travels!

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Powerful Moments in the Presence of God

This beautiful book, Powerful Moments in the Presence of God, just came in the mail.  Lorraine Varela has combined her love of photography with her love for scripture in this new devotional book.  It would be a lovely gift book for Christmas or birthdays.  I like that Varela has gone beyond traditional devotional scriptures to some scriptures that are often overlooked.  Each devotion has a 1-2 page photo with a title, scripture, and 1-2 paragraphs.  I would recommend this book to any woman interested in spiritual things - it will encourage a nonbeliever to ponder God's love, and it will inspire a more seasoned believer to revisit scripture in a new light.

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

Monday, September 28, 2015

Historical Fiction - Not by Sight by Kate Breslin

I've just "met" a new historical fiction author, Kate Breslin, author of Not by Sight.

Here's how the publisher describes the book:  "With Britain caught up in WWI, Jack Benningham, heir to the Earl of Stonebrooke, has declared himself a conscientious objector. Instead, he secretly works for the Crown by tracking down German spies on British soil, his wild reputation and society status serving as a foolproof cover. Blinded by patriotism and concern for her brother on the front lines, wealthy suffragette Grace Mabry will do whatever it takes to assist her country's cause. When she sneaks into a posh London masquerade ball to hand out white feathers of cowardice, she never imagines the chain of events she'll set off when she hands a feather to Jack. And neither of them could anticipate the extent of the danger and betrayal that follows them--or the faith they'll need to maintain hope."

It was a very good read.  A very creative storyline, and it gave me a good glimpse into this slice of history.  I liked getting to know the characters - and I "felt" their joys and pains as I was reading.  I especially liked the two main characters and watching their struggle to know one another well and get beyond past fears.  There are great lessons in the book about not judging a book by it's cover!  The landscape descriptions were beautifully written - I could easily picture the lovely sights.

It was a light-hearted easy read that I would recommend this book to any female reader age 14+.  I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

What Color is Your Parachute?

I read an earlier edition of this book in 1995 when I graduated from college, as I was searching for my first job.  It was an incredibly valuable tool that greatly shaped my understanding of my strengths and desires.  I’ve been recommending it to career seekers ever since.  What I didn’t realize is how much the book has evolved over the last two decades.  It’s rich with improvements, focusing on how the internet and social media has changed the whole job seeking process. 

The most practical and inspiring piece of the book, to me, is chapter 7 - the process of building your flower – that one piece of paper that highlights your mission, your preferred colleagues, your skills, your interests, your preferred living location, your preferred responsibilities, your working conditions and your salary range.  It’s 90 pages of self-discovery – and I still refer back to the flower I created 20 years ago!  Other chapter highlights include tips and tricks for building a resume, interviewing, negotiating salaries, changing careers, starting your own business, and overcoming personal obstacles in your field of work. 

I would highly recommend this book to college seniors, to people changing careers, and to people searching for a job.  Take time to reflect on who YOU want to be instead of letting the pressure to find a job define who you are.  I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.  

Teaching children to know Jesus

Teaching my children to know Jesus and have a friendship with Jesus is very important to me, so I was very excited to discover Sarah Young’s new book, “Jesus Calling for Little Ones”.  Just like the original “Jesus Calling” (which I love!), it builds very personal conversations with Jesus from scriptures.  For example, she takes James 1:17, “Every good action and every perfect gift is from God.”   She adds more to the conversation:  “Every good gift in your life is from Me – your family and friends, the bright sun and tall trees, playful puppies and sleepy kittens.  Look around at all the wonderful things I have for you!”  And each conversation is surrounded by bright child-friendly illustrations.  This is a wonderful tool to teach young children to see God’s love and to teach them to converse with the God who loves them more than they could possibly imagine.  And I bet the parents reading the book will be challenged too!

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

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Prayers for Young Readers

My kids are avid readers, so our family does a lot selecting books to read.  If your school pushes reading like ours does, your children probably read a lot too.  But the content of young adult books is not always wise for even adult Christians to read because of the sensual and sexual story lines and images.  I hate that - because in SO many cases, a book would be just as good without the sinful content!!

I've talked many times with teenage son about being smart about reading choices, but honestly never thought to ask him to pray about it.  Duh!  So here's a prayer to teach your children and a protective prayer to pray over your them...  

Joel Beeke:  “Before I read anything, I pray that the Lord would give to me the grace to discern whether or not I should spend time reading this particular book.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Friday, August 14, 2015

Becoming Your Kids' Go-To Person About Sex

Jonathan McKee has a new book out called "Becoming Your Kids' Go-To Person About Sex More Than Just the Talk".  I know - a scary and daunting thought!  But this is a great book.  McKee has done a fantastic job tackling a tough subject with humor and practical tips for parents.

From the publisher:  "In a sex-saturated culture where kids are exposed to nearly 14,000 sexual references per year on television, and 70 percent of teenagers have encountered pornography on the Internet, parents can't rely on the traditional one-time "sex talk" that their own parents muddled through. Kids need to know that it's natural to be curious about sex and that their parents are the most reliable source of information. Otherwise, their friends and smartphones will be more than willing to give answers that are likely to lead them down the path to sin and heartache. Jonathan McKee shows parents how to move beyond the initial awkwardness of this subject into an ongoing conversation with their kids about God's amazing gift of sex. He equips them to engage in open conversations about dating, temptation, porn, and purity. Parents will find answers to the tough questions most people avoid and relevant Scripture regarding sexual issues. When parents provide the honest answers their kids are longing for, they can become the ones their kids turn to with their questions about this critical topic."

This book is relevant and important for parents to read.  It will empower and equip parents to start dealing with issues their children are facing.  It will inspire parents to take action and initiate conversations.  It will help remove some of the awkwardness and fear that parents are bound to fear when the sex subject comes up.

I recommend this book to any parent with children ages 10+, and any youth worker/educator that has the opportunity to speak into the lives of children and teens.

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

Book Review: Taken by Dee Henderson

Dee Henderson is a great author, and she has written yet another great book - "Taken"!  I love the way she crafts her mysteries and the way she develops her characters.  The books are always intriguing, always clean, and always easy to read.  This storyline is very emotional - I can't begin to imagine being in the shoes of the main character who was abducted from her home at 16 and missing for 11 years.  It's the story of how Shannon Bliss returns safely to society while seeking justice from wrongs done.  As always, I had trouble putting the book down to go to sleep, because I wanted to keep reading!

I would recommend this book to any reader age 15+.

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