Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cliques, hicks, and ugly sticks by KD McCrite

Cliques, hicks, and ugly sticks by KD McCrite is a book which I thought sounded much more interesting and better than it actually was. It’s a book about April Grace, a 6th grader entering middle school—hating math, having a former friend turn her back on her, fighting with her sister, typical jr. high stuff.

It’s written in a first person voice, with April Grace relating the story. April Grace is an 11 year old girl, living in the Ozarks in 1986. She lives in her home with her family and another couple who are rebuilding their house down the road, and she is beginning 6th grade. There is a whole cast of characters who intermittently dominate the story. The book follows April Grace through the first half of her sixth grade year.

I really had high hopes for this book. I thought it sounded sweet and like the type of thing my pre-teen daughter would love. After reading it. . .I wouldn’t really call it sweet. And yes, my daughter probably will like it. It seems to read like a lot of current books written for this age group—which truthfully she likes, so I guess it hit its target there. However, there were themes which were never addressed/corrected such as lack of respect to elders and family members, and although it is a Christian fiction book—there’s not a strong Christian message that came through to me.

So—would I recommend it? Maybe to read—check it out at your library if you can. I probably wouldn’t purchase the book—or give it as a gift. Certainly not a book I loved.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review.

Heroes and Villains of the Bible

Wow! I liked this book right from the beginning! (no question there of how I feel about the book, huh?!) The title, Heroes and Villains--grabs kids attention--including my own children's attention. The intro speaks beautifully about heroes and villains, ". . .But what made one person a hero and another person a villain? Choices." and also "Being a hero isn't about capes, or special powers, or being faster than a speeding bullet--it's about choosing to follow God."

From that point on the chapters on each of the heroes or villains began. From heroes like Noah, Samuel, Ruth, and Joseph of Arimathea to villains including Delilah, Hamaan, and Herod. I really liked that the way the information about each was presented was simply by using the Scripture passage which spoke of that person/incident. Straight from the Bible, God's Word. Information at the beginning of each section set the scene for each segment, then at the end of each person's Scripture section was a summary/explanation/application section. It was short and engaging.

The print was a nice size, easy to read. There were pictures for some of the characters, which I thought were pretty creepy looking, but my son liked them (and he's the target age for the book--so I guess that's okay).

All in all--a great book! A wonderful gift for a child, or perhaps a great devotional book. I could even see it as a great starting point for a Sunday School class. Excellent. Love it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

His Little Princess by Sheri Rose Shepherd

We speak to God through prayer and listen to Him through Scripture and other means. This book, His Little Princess by Sheri Rose Shepherd is a beautiful illustration of speaking and listening to God.

The book is a set of letters to a princess (little girl! daughter of the King--God) from her King (the Lord). Each letter is on a different topic such as respect, beauty, selfishness, family, anger, temptation, and on and on. The letters are short and sweet, but really pack a punch! They speak clearly and directly and just at a great level for a child to understand herself.

Coordinating with each of the letters from the King are prayers in response to each of the lessons/letters from the King are processed. Each section also has a Scripture verse to go along with it.

I really like this book. It is set up in a great way to go through in a daily devotional style--or to just open up and read sections at a time. Truthfully, the messages in it are good for the mom to read as well!

I would recommend this book for sure. It would make a great gift as well!

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The World of Animals

I previously reviewed the book World of Science – this book, World of Animals, is in the same series, and is just as great! Once again I’ll say this book is great for kids and adults as well. It is also co-published by Master Books and My Father’s World (we love them!!) which gives me confidence in its creationistic viewpoint. The introduction begins with Scripture—excellent!

I really like that the book covers more than just the “big” animals (mammals and outstanding reptiles)—it begins with simple animals (sponges, jellies, etc) and moves on up through worms, insects, and then to vertebrates (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals). The illustrations are gorgeous and the text that goes along with the pictures and sections is clear and easy to understand.

This book could be used as a textbook, but also is interesting enough to just be leafed through and enjoyed. My kids eat this stuff up—they love reading this kind of thing—and interesting facts pop out of their mouths all the time! This book would make a wonderful gift!

I highly recommend this book!

I was given a free copy of this book by New Leaf Publishing group for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

World of Science

World of Science is a wonderful book in so many senses! It’s a great science book written with a Christian perspective—very clearly, beginning with the introduction which starts with Genesis 1:1. One quote from the intro, “Why do science? Why should science be studied? Science can help us see the intricacies of God’s creation, allowing for enormous advancements in our world.” I like that—very nicely said.

After the intro, the book moves logically from atoms, elements, molecules, and such—to matter—to energy/motion—and on through sections on electricity/magnetism, light and sound, earth and life, and space and time. The last section is science experiments! Great fun projects to illustrate concepts explained throughout the book.

So—readability—is it just a textbook? No way! Yes, it can certainly be used as a textbook—as a side note, I was happy to see that it’s co-published by My Father’s World, which is the home school program we use—however, it is a really interesting book to just read or flip through! My children love this type of book—the colorful illustrations are beautiful and attention-grabbing and just invite children and adults alike to read the accompanying text bits that give the information. You notice I said adults also? Yes—it really is appealing to adults too! Even my husband was flipping through the book pointing out things to us, and saying things like, “Wow!” or “So that’s how that works. . .”

This book is awesome!  It’s a great book to have as a part of a school or public library, your home library, your child’s classroom, Grandma and Grandpa’s house, I could go on and on! How many kids do you know who love science? This book is perfect for them! This is a wonderful purchase that you won’t regret!

I was given a free copy of this book by New Leaf Publishing Group for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin

Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin is a great illustration of the old saying, “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover”! Looking at this book, I probably would not have picked it up at all—I would’ve thought it was a “rich girl goes to a poor area” romance. AND additionally, flipping through the pages, the words are really small—this would’ve added up to a “last resort” read for me.

WELL-- I read it because I received a copy from the publisher to review, and I was SO glad I did! This was a great book! Very entertaining!

The main character, Alice, is a girl who has been very pampered/protected , is living during the Depression, and has just lost her job and her beau. She takes a trip to Kentucky to deliver books to a library in need of books—and the adventure begins! She meets an amazingly diverse cast of characters and maintains her personality but grows in response to circumstances. There are interesting adventures, experiences, dangers, friendships, deceptions, and intrigue. It’s not really a “romance” per se, but rather an adventure story. The story line is very interesting—with lots of twists and surprises. I just wanted to keep reading this book (yes, I stayed up late to finish it!!) and once I had begun reading, I didn’t even notice the small print. Great book, you should read it!

I highly recommend this interesting book!

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House publishers for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Reclaiming Lily by Patti Lacy

Another book by Bethany House publishers which I completely loved!! This book, Reclaiming Lily has so many themes—foreign adoption, China’s one-child policy, health tragedies, seeking Christ, rebellious teenagers, and so many others—and they fit nicely together into one cohesive story. I loved it.

The book focuses on a Texan family who adopted a ten year old girl from China and her Chinese sister (who is working as a doctor in the USA). The Chinese doctor, Kai, desperately searches for her youngest sister Lily who was adopted by an American couple. She fears that Lily may have a deadly disease which killed their mother. Lily (who was renamed Joy by her adoptive parents) is a rebellious teen whose parents are at their wits end, but who wish to continue protecting her and loving her. They are hesitant to meet with Kai when she contacts them, but they do and all their lives are changed.

Kai speaks of her family’s tragic history in China’s cultural revolution and her memories from childhood. She gains the family’s trust (including Lily/Joy’s) and their drama continues together. Throughout it all, Kai struggles with/seeks for God.

I don’t want to give more away, but I will say that I was entranced by the story. It is a very intense story, one I hated to put down. I would strongly recommend this book! ( I will say the picture on the front of the book is the only issue I’d have with it—I can’t figure out, even after reading it, who/what it’s representing!—but it’s just the cover illustration, just ignore it!) It’s a dramatic book, but an easy read. Very nice!

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers for the purposes of this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Homeschool Tshirts!

Here's a great company we just found out about this year. They sell lots of homeschool/family items--the first thing we bought was a tshirt (Homeschool Girls Rock--see above picture!)

They have lots of other great homeschool shirts with nice designs. They're also having a giveaway contest on their website. Here's the link. http://homeschoolgiveaways.com/2011/11/giveaway-apparel-family/

Check them out!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My husband must be pretty tough. . .

I lined another one of my husband's button-up shirts with fleece for cold mornings in church--and he wore it last week to church


When I did laundry, I found that there were TWO straight pins left in it!! At the sides of the waistband!!


But he said he never noticed! :) That could have been bad!

Our chickens :)

Joining in with the blog tour highlighting on chickens and their housing!

I love seeing other peoples' setups, so many people are so creative and artistic with their coops! Unfortunately ours is just plain, functional chicken housing. Due to $$ constraints and the simple busy-ness of life, this is what works for us, so it's what we have for now! Maybe someday. . . (dreaming!)

So here's our coop Photobucket

I have to say it looks MUCH prettier in the winter :) PhotobucketWe have only girls (layers) and our breeds are Rhode Island Red (Big Red and Rhona), Barred Rock(Mackey and Lacey), Ameraucana (DeeDee), Australorp (Nancy and Blackie), White Rock (Snowbelle), and Buff Orpington (Marty and Linny). The kids named them, and they're named after several Iditarod racers, Grandma, and the others are just "made up" names! The kids pretty much do all the poultry care (yay!) and they enjoy the birds. This is our third flock, we always like to have a flock with a variety of breeds (I wish I could say something scientific about it, but truthfully, we just like the looks of it!)

The kids do poultry projects for 4H and really enjoy the showmanship part of it, showing them at the fair! Photobucket

Back to our coop design. . .our coop has a HUGE FLAW and that is its location. We do not own the land here, so we were a bit limited as to where we located the coop. We built it our first summer here, before we knew. . .it floods like crazy every huge rainstorm, and especially in the early winter/early spring. Here's a pic of the result of that--our chickens get their own ice rink! (they pretty much stay off the ice and on the shavings area or in the yardPhotobucket

During the day, when we're home, we just let them roam around the yard. They are so hilarious and crack us up frequently. The FUNNIEST thing ever is to see a chicken running toward you! We give them "treats" (stuff that would go in compost) quite frequently, so whenever we go out they want to check out what we have for them :) We also stand at the back door and call "chickie" and they come running to get scraps from dinner plates. We call them our "pre-composters."

They like to hang out under my son's rabbit cages and dig for all the worms living under there Photobucket

We raise a few batches of meat birds also, but right now they are in the fridgePhotobucket
and tomorrow they will be "moving" to the freezer or the canner! :)

To end this, I'll say that we thoroughly enjoy keeping chickens, and like most chicken owners, we eat a LOT of eggs! Here's my favorite way to make a super-quick breakfast