This is quite possibly the cutest Bible I have ever seen. The "Look and Tell Bible" is a board book that presents popular Bible stories in a fun, interactive way.
The book is set up for parents to read the story and their young ones to interject words based on picture symbols provided with each story. It's a great way to get little ones exposed to Bible stories and to introduce them to reading.
Each story is presented in a friendly way, easy to understand for toddlers and Kindergarten kiddies. The illustrations are fun and colorful. Though my kids are too old for this kind of book, Gracey really enjoyed looking at the pictures and telling me about the stories. This would make a great sibling read-together book.
I'm always up for a good mystery especially if it's rated PG-13. But, this one was rather disappointing. Murder Comes By Mail by Ann Gabhart is the second book of the Hidden Springs Mystery series published by Revell.
The story follows Michael Keane, the beloved sheriff and hero of Hidden Springs. He's an all-around good guy, driving the tour bus for his aunt's church ladies group, solving crimes, and saving a man's life all while being single and good-looking. But the guy he saves? Ya, well, let's just say he might be a killer. Might not. Guess you'll have to read it to find out.
The story itself isn't bad. But the characters are to sugary sweet. They're not believable. There's no edge, no realism. Flat, flat, flat. And there's just too many of them. I kept having to flip back to the last chapter, or the first chapter, to remember who everyone was.
But, if you're looking for a quick, less than scintillating mystery with a Christian worldview, this might be a book for you.
From the publisher:
Cozy Mystery Complete with a Small Town Full of Charming, Quirky Characters
Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane doesn't particularly enjoy being touted as the hero of Hidden Springs after pulling a suicidal man back from the edge of the Eagle River bridge in front of dozens of witnesses--a few of whom caught the breathtaking moments with their cameras. But the media hype doesn't last long as a new story pushes its way into the public consciousness of Hidden Springs' concerned citizens.
Photos of a dead girl arrive in the mail, and Michael becomes convinced she was murdered by the man he saved. With a killer one step ahead, things in Hidden Springs begin to unravel. Now Michael must protect the people he loves--because the killer could be targeting one of them next.
Readers will love racing along with Deputy Sheriff Keane as the clock ticks in this page-turning mystery.
*The opinions herein are my own, but I was provided a copy of this book for the purpose of this review.
Honestly, I'm always skeptical of these truncated Bible story books. A lot of the time they're disappointing. But NOT so with the 5-Minute Nighttime Bible Stories!
First, I was surprised that it was so big. It has a slightly padded hard cover and is about 11" long. I love that it doesn't easily get lost in the pile of books. Then I was pleased with the illustrations. They're really well done, lifelike but child-friendly, not to cartoony but not too realistic. Playful is a good word to describe the illustrations.
The stories, however, are what sold me on this book. I expected them to to not be 5 minutes but actually a bit longer. And in reality, they are 5 minutes or less. Somehow, even in their brevity, they still manage to include all the high points of the stories and give an accurate, abridged version of these famous stories. What I really love is how every story has a short prayer and at least one comprehension question. This opens the door to discussion with Gracey and also gives us a practical application in the prayer.
Well done! If you're looking for an easy way to add a little more Bible to your child's repertoire, this book is for you.
The opinions herein are my own, but I was provided a copy of this book for the purpose of this review.
Being anti-sugar, I was excited to get this book. The cover was enticing with a picture of a healthy-looking woman stirring up some fun sans sugar. She looked like someone that would be my friend, so I thought this would be a great cookbook.
Unfortunately, it was just so-so.
The pictures and formatting are beautiful. And the recipes are fun. But, they're not for me. A lot of the recipes replace the sugar with starchy carbs and well, that won't fly in this house. Most of the recipes seem geared for a vegetarian lifestyle, which also won't fly in this house. And while they don't include a lot of weird ingredients, there were a few. The rest of the recipes were already things we've tried and the book didn't inspire me to try them again.
But, man, was it fun a book to peruse. And it certainly grabs one's attention sitting on my counter. It's a heavy book, with semi-gloss pages full of inspiration. Unfortunately for my family, none of the recipes fit our dietary needs. But, it might fit yours and so I encourage you to check it out for yourself. Sarah Wilson, the author, put together a fun cookbook with lots of gorgeous food inside. Maybe it will work for you.
The opinions expressed here are mine. I received the book from Blogging for Books for this review.
From the publisher:
ABOUT THE I QUIT SUGAR COOKBOOKEasy. Inventive. Delicious.
When Sarah Wilson gave up sugar for good, she developed a new repertoire of creative, go-to dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. With 306 satisfying recipes for one-pan wonders, grain-free breakfasts, leftover makeovers, smoothie bowls, and more, this comprehensive cookbook makes living sugar-free simple and sustainable.
Start quitting now, with recipes that include:
Bacon ’N’ Egg Quinoa Oatmeal
Gift-Wrapped Miso Cod
Caramelized Leek, Apple, and Rosemary Socca
Green Spaghetti and Meatballs
Two-Minute Desk Noodles
Broc Bites and Cauli Popcorn
Red Velvet Crunch Bowl
Chocolate Peanut Butter Crackles
Strawberry Cheesecake Mug Cake
That's the theme of the sweet little book "The Princess Twins and the Tea Party" by Mona Hodgson.
Gracey loves tea parties, princesses and twins. So this easy reader was perfect for her. Plus, she's still building reading confidence, so it was terrific to watch her zip through a new book that she really, really wanted to read.
The story is about twin sister princesses who want to throw the perfect tea party. But, of course, everything that could go wrong, does. And, in the end, they learn that it's okay to not be perfect. After all, none of us are. Only God and he loves us just as He made us.
It really is a sweet and adorable read. Check it out!
From the Publisher:
Book DescriptionA lesson in humility. Princess Emma wants everything to be perfect for her tea party, but only God is perfect. Just when her guests arrive, everything seems to go wrong. How will Emma fix it? This Level-One I Can Read teaches girls what it means to be a princess for the true King.
Elisa Pulliam's "Meet the New You" is like a life coach on paper. The 21-day plan speaks gently to your heart using Scripture and truth while precisely cutting away the barriers to seeing who you really are.
Each of the 21 chapters focuses on a specific topic and includes Bible verses, anecdotes and a practical exercise. You may find yourself taking a personality quiz or discovering your learning style. Or maybe it will be a time of reflection. But the exercises are designed to get you thinking about how you got to where you are and where you want to go from here. Plus, they include biblical truth and each chapter closes with a prayer.
The book addresses common obstacle areas such as health, relationships and career and is designed to be read and completed within 21 days.
Some of the exercises and chapters felt laborious and others felt elementary. But most were enriching and thought-provoking.
If you find yourself stuck in a rut, or wondering "who am I" or "how did I get here" then you should definitely check out this wonderful Christian self-help book.
Six weeks on and one week off. That's how we roll at Providence Academy. Why? Because it works for us.
This is our fourth year homeschooling. When we made the decision to homeschool back in 2012, I originally intended on doing school for eight weeks and then having a break. But then the curricula arrived and I couldn't figure out how to work in a break. So we just took odd days off here and there and went on a few trips like our October 2012 trip to Niagara Falls and our April 2013 trip to San Francisco.
But, by and large, I became a slave to the curriculum. And, honestly, homeschooling was not the learning experience I wanted. Every year since then, I've worked at letting go of the "gotta finish the book" mentality. It's hard for a Type-A like me to let go of rules and to embrace fluidity, but I'm working on it.
Last year was the first year we did six weeks on and one week off and it happened quite by coincidence. After reading "Teaching from Rest," I'd downloaded the Plan Your Year guide and one of the pages is a six term block schedule. I was also building my own unit studies for History, Science, Art and Music-- shaping them around each other -- and each unit was one week long. So I translated the word "term" to "week" in my head and voila! A beautiful, manageable school schedule that allowed for structure and fluidity.
Here's why six weeks on and one week off works for us:
1. Burn Out: I can tell when we are at the end of week five or at the beginning of week six. All three of us are grouchy, tired and no longer excited about what we're studying. We're ready for a rest from the books. We're just plain burned out. Six weeks is all we can handle. Then we need to take a break to let it all sink in to our brains.
2. Course Correction: My first two years, I discovered that what I wanted to work usually didn't work quite the way I'd hoped and planned. But, I'm too methodical and practical to just scrap an entire curriculum mid-year. I'm also too Type A to just start adding things in and taking stuff out without a fast and hard start and end date. So, six weeks gives me enough time to see if something is working, do research on alternatives or substitutions and then correct our course in the next six week session.
3. Diversity: Almost anything can be studied well in six weeks. For some of our more complex topics, we do multiple six week sections. But, this gives us a lot of diversity and variation in what and how we are learning. I keep thinking that one of these days I'm going to spend a week on art, a week on music, a week on science, etc. That's just a little too amoebic for me at this point, but maybe one day.
4. Reward: I was going to say "flexibility" or "vacation" or "fun" but the reality is, the six week schedule fits our lives. Now, when my mom asks me if we'd like to go with them on vacation, I can say "Yes, we're off school on this particular week." We know that if we work hard for six weeks straight, we have a seventh to rest as our reward. And, now that I think about that, it's kind of biblical if you consider God worked for six days and rested on the seventh.
5. Retention: This schedule means our summer break is a little bit shorter. We actually have a four week term of school in the middle of summer where we focus on just reading, math and Bible. A shorter summer means more retention and better fluidity in their learning. I'm not spending the first month of school reviewing because we haven't been away from our studies more than six weeks. By the time the six weeks are up, we're ready for the structure and formal learning again.
6. Because we can! That, to me, is one of the biggest perks of homeschooling. And, I felt I needed a sixth reason to fit with our six week schedule.
So, what do we do on our seventh week? We bake, read books, play with legos, go for long walks, visit friends, take naps, do some unschooling, go on field trips, catch up on laundry and if we're lucky go on vacation. The seventh week can be anything we want it to be.
If you're feeling burnt out, maybe it's time to tweak your schedule. It's scary, I know. But it might be just the thing you need.
We've just returned from our week long visit to the San Francisco Bay Area. Scott and I grew up in this part of the world. Most of Scott's family still lives there and a good portion of mine does as well. We haven't been back since we moved to ND in 2006 and many friends and family had never met Gracey. Plus, we just studied marine life and California history a few weeks ago, so it was time to go. I was a little nervous about the trip because since moving to ND, I don't handle crowds well. Plus, we feel so safe in ND and San Francisco isn't really a safe place. But I was up for the adventure.
Our first night in Alameda was a little rough. We stayed in a hotel along the estuary with beautiful boats in the harbor. We'd been in bed about an hour when the hotel's smoke alarms started ringing. At first we thought it was some kind of joke, but then heard people shuffling out of their rooms, so we put on our coats and went outside. The halls were a little foggy with light smoke, but it was obvious the place wasn't burning down. After a few minutes, the front desk crew told us that someone had been burning incense in their room and it had gotten out of control, but everything was fine now and we could go back to bed. Though it disrupted our sleep, it was a good experience for the kids.
The next day we drove two hours to Modesto in the Central Valley to see Scott's mom. The valley isn't unlike ND. It's filled with farms, vacant land and rolling hills. The only difference is smog and traffic. After our day out there, we drove back to Emeryville (just east of San Francisco) and met up with Scott's cousins and aunt. We had supper at one of our favorite hang-outs, Public Market. PM is a huge food court featuring at least 15 different ethnic foods including Japanese, Indian, Greek, Mexican, Chinese, Afghani, Lebanese and Italian. Scott and I used to eat there a lot while I was in massage therapy school. Gracey ate stir-fry, Adam ordered a big burrito like his "big" cousin Joshua while Scott and I ate Indian food.
On Tuesday, we visited the Academy of Science which is a well-known and well-loved museum, aquarium and planetarium. Growing up, my favorite field trip was always to the Academy and I asked Scott to take me there on our fifth date. We had so much fun looking at all the different fish, rays, jelly fish, and other sea life. The kids held starfish and touched anemones. We even saw the penguins whose web-camera the kids watch on their Kindles! After lunch, we watched a movie about earthquakes on the planetarium screen and learned about tectonic plates. Then we ambled through a four-story rain forest with butterflies flying around our heads. But our favorite thing was the earthquake simulator. Having lived through the Loma Prieta 7.1 earthquake in 1989, we were anxious to show the kids what an earthquake is and the damage it leaves behind. The simulator is a small house on a platform and it simulates the 1906 and the 1989 earthquakes so that visitors can feel different types of earthquakes.
Later, we visited the Golden Gate bridge, Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf and China Town. We also drove down Lombard Street, road a cable car trolley, and took a ferry ride in the bay. But the most amazing and educational thing happened without planning. San Francisco and the surrounding area has a bad homeless problem yet as Scott and I prepared the kids for our trip (stay where you can see us, don't talk to strangers, you may see people dressed funny, you'll see lots of different races, etc) we completely forgot about the homeless and the "panhandlers." We were in San Francisco walking along the wharf. There the homeless wait for hand outs. Each time we walked past one, Adam asked me for a snack from my bag and gave it to the person saying, "God bless you." It brought this mama to tears. I'd expected my children to be scared by the homeless men and women. But instead, they rose to the occasion and showed love.
Other fun things we did included visiting Tilden Park and riding the miniature steam train. Adam and Scott went with Grandpa to the aircraft carrier and took a tour. We also showed the kids the houses we grew up in, our grandparents' houses and the house we lived in after we got married. We visited neighbors who were like grandparents to me and the kids got to feed their koi fish and look at their different species of orchids. And then we took them to Mills College where I attended. I showed them around and cried the whole time. Ha! We fed the ducks and watched 747s land.We ate shrimp cocktails and played on the beach. We visited the church where we got married and stopped at the Raiders headquarters. We sat on Grandpa's boat and watched the Coast Guard do their daily duties. And we visited with friends and family.
Another educational adventure complete!