Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Breath of Dawn by Kristen Heitzmann

This book, Breath of Dawn, was a great read! It has so many different elements in it (suspense, romance, history, etc) and a large cast of believable characters! It is a long-ish book, which is great, because once you begin reading it you hope it'll go on and on!

The book focuses on a young woman, Quinn, who is terrorized by an ex-prisoner she helped send to jail. She is trying to make a life for herself but soon finds that she cannot run from this man's reach.

There is another kind of tragic figure, Morgan--a highly successful businessman who has lost his wife in an accident and is devoted to his baby daughter.

The story is not, however, just about these two individuals (who of course end up together--it is partly a romance, remember?!) There is also a loving family, some not-so-loving family members, a marriage of convenience, a growing love, the overcoming of a huge problem in one of the characters' history, and so much other extraneous stuff that ties in to the story.

I want to be careful to not give too much away, as it is so enjoyable to discover it through reading this story!

I would certainly recommend this book to the fiction reader. There were a few things which I thought were a bit unrealistic, but they added to the story. The only thing I REALLY disliked about this book is the cover--really weird, and what on earth do the boats have to do with the story? And the girl's face/shoulder on the cover--very odd looking, I thought. So--superficial, but truthfully made me put this book on the bottom of my reading pile. Glad I finally got to it though! So just overlook the cover and read the book!

I received this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review. I just liked the book!

Friday, December 28, 2012

running. . .running still!

Running, who'd have thought it? :) Last year I (for some reason? Don't know why, must have been a push from God maybe?) started running. Now, I have always disliked running. I began with using a Couch to 5K program (you can see my first post about it here). I did mention it again another month into it here. But guess what? I'm still running! I cannot believe it myself. :)

Now, I'm not a great runner, I'm not a fast runner, I'm not even a distance runner! I just basically run between 1.5 and 3 miles three times a week. But HEY!! I'm still running! I'm not thin, I'm not athletic, but I RUN!!

I have a sister who runs, she began a little before me, and this fall she ran in and completed her first marathon; she's also a thin little thing who always looks good and. . .and. . .and. . .

I think that Satan uses these thoughts in my mind to compare with myself and make me feel bad, but you know what? Nope! I am running because I LIKE to :) and because it's healthy for me, and because my legs are now super-strong (hahahahaha--maybe not super strong, but I do notice when I hike with my kids I can hold out a lot longer than them before needing a rest!!)

SO -- let me encourage you -- if you have any inclination to run or begin a running program -- give it a try! I really liked the couch to 5K way of easing you into it, with mostly walking and a little running at first, enough to make you not get too easily discouraged. Give it a try!!

*****and as a sidenote to a previous post about running, I did not like running in the summer better--felt like I was dying (!) well kind of -- for me it's SO much more comfortable running in 20 degree weather with a bit of bundling up!

So--what do you think? Do you run? Are you thinking of it? Go for it!! I'd love to hear about your running in the comments section here!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Knitting inspiration!

Knitting! I've been inspired! I know I already wrote a post about knitting a couple of months ago (here) but I'm still keeping up with it! I have made several really cute hats (kind of limiting myself to hats to this point!)

I'm not a great knitter, I knit very loosely, and don't take the time to do the gauge thing of knitting a square to see if it's the right size -- so far I've just used a couple of sizes smaller needles and they've come out okay :)

So to show off a few of my cute things. . .

The fish hat!! SOOOO cute and not too hard! The instructions came from this site-- (fish hat) and here's my "finished" picture

This next one is really cute too and can be worn a couple of different ways.

the pattern for this one came from ravelry HERE.

And now I'm working on this. . .
just a random, no-pattern hat, knitting on these teeny little size 3 needles, since I can't find my bigger ones. Oh well, it'll stretch!

:) So what have I learned so far?

1--I prefer to work stuff (well, hats at least!) on 4 or 5 double pointed needles rather than on circular needles.

2--I cannot figure out circular needles!!

3--for hats, loose knitting doesn't matter SO much because you can always line them with polar fleece!! (and that makes them warmer and more wind-proof!)

So--I'm definitely in a hat rut. Not sure what else I should try -- I don't need to make mittens, since I already have a system for making mittens (see my post HERE. Feel free to leave ideas in comments! :)

(joining up with Downhome Blog Hop found here!!)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sisterchicks in Gondolas by Robin Jones Gunn

Interesting, fun, uplifting, encouraging!

:) Great book! I enjoyed reading this one! Sisterchicks in Gondolas is the story of two women from the US and a trip they took to Venice for a week to serve ministers and to laugh and enjoy the area together. I don't want to give away any of this book! Read it! It's great!

I WILL give you a little info about it -- Sue, who is the wife of a recently paralyzed husband, accompanies her sister-in-law Jenna (herself a divorced single mother of an adult daughter) to Venice -- to cook for a small group of ministers/missionaries from various places around the world. They both relax, release guilts which are holding them, and develop hope and lightness for the future. They move through quite a process of self-discovery and spiritual growth and freedom in this week overseas.

There are funny parts, touching parts, interesting trivia, and an all-around entertaining story. The woman Jenna discovers that "I'm not done!" and that there is still a lot of her life left to live, enjoy, and serve. Sue regains a whole new look at herself and her life and a new devotion to the Lord.

This book is not only a sweet story, it also makes you think a bit about your life, where you are, and what you have yet ahead of you. It gives hope that the Lord still can use you!

I'd definitely recommend this book! Read it~~Give it as a gift~~enjoy it and let God speak to you through it!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through their Blogging for Books program. I was not required to write a positive review.

Betrayal by Robin Lee Hatcher --Review and GIVEAWAY!!!

Are you looking for a new series of fiction/historical/romance books to read? This book, Betrayal, by Robin Lee Hatcher is the second book in a series (see the end of this post--I'm giving away book 1 and 2!!) that focuses on adults who were orphaned and separated as children in the 1800's and who long to be reunited. The first book (Belonging) focused on Felicia, the middle daughter. This book, Betrayal, takes a look at Hugh, the eldest brother.

Betrayal is the story of Julia, recently widowed from an abusive husband, running a ranch alone, and intimidated by her ex-brother-in-law who wants her land. Hugh enters the picture randomly, as he's traveling through the area and his horse becomes injured. He takes a position as a temporary ranch hand and, hey, it's a historical romance, so you can probably guess what happens :). . .

The book is a nice story. It IS part of a series, and as such, mentions a little bit about Hugh's past and his search for his sisters. It kind of abruptly throws that in at the end and jumps--boom--into life with his newfound sister and her family (without addressing how he found her,etc) I kind of wished they had put that part into the book. I did not really like the title, Betrayal. I think it was named that because of huge betrayals that had happened in the pasts of Hugh and Julia, but not so much what the book was about.

The book was a nice read. A kind of predictable historical romance with details about ranch life. It's a Christian book and as such is a very "clean" story, which is good. I read the first book of this series and I honestly liked it a bit better than this one. Nevertheless, I would still recommend this book for a little light reading! And I'm looking forward to book 3 in the series!


I have a copy of book 1, Belonging, and book 2, Betrayal to give away! I'll plan to draw a name on Friday, Dec. 28.

To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment below (and make sure I have your contact info!)


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

WINNER!! The winner of the giveaway is the number 2 comment, Jan! Hope you enjoy the books! :)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Jack Frost nipping at your. . .fingers? No more!

I'm sharing with you a double winner today! :) The mittens that we use to keep our fingers toasty (usually!) and also the Craft Fair products that I have people coming back to buy year after year.

These are my felted wool, fleece-lined mittens! They're made from old wool sweaters which I've felted (shrunk down) in the washer/dryer then cut mittens out of. I make the fronts/backs of the mittens twice, once from the wool and once from fleece (yeah, I'm a recycler! I usually use fleece from pj's or outgrown or yard sale sweatshirts, etc). The cuffs are either from sweaters or else (especially for the kids' mittens) I just purchase (!) ribbing and make the cuffs from that. The ribbing cuffs are nice and long to keep the mittens inside sleeves and to keep the snow out of sleeves!

I have been outfitting my kids for years in this type of mitten--they are used to the things I make :) and have enjoyed them for sure. The mittens are nice and thick and keep their fingers warm and cozy -- even when wet they tend to retain a bit more heat, thanks to the wool.

Also -- for the past 3 years I've been making these to sell at the local holiday craft sale and have almost sold out of what I've made each year. I know people elsewhere sell them for much more than I do (or so I've been told), but I sell them for $10 a pair and do pretty well, enough to help with the seasonal bills.

So -- if you're in need of some new mittens, give it a try! Be inspired! Or, if you're not a sewing type person, email me if you'd like to purchase some!

'Tis the season! Don't let Jack Frost make those fingers uncomfortable! :)

Oliver Twist Audiobook


So. . .as far as my review, you can tell it's going to be a positive one, right? :) This Audiobook presentation of Oliver Twist put out by Focus on the Family and provided through Tyndale (here) is a wonderful way to read/listen to the great Dickens classic Oliver Twist. Now, my review is not of the text (review Charles Dickens' work? I think not!) but rather of the audio version. It is wonderful! The Focus on the Family Radio Theater produces such quality presentations!

Oliver Twist, the classic story of an orphan boy's sad life in London in the 1800's, is dramatized with different actors' voices and with great sound effects. As an American, it took just a tiny time to get used to hearing the English accents, and they definitely added to the listening experience! My family and I listened to this audiobook in the car, on our regular travels. We were all captivated by this classic story and looked forward to trips in the car to hear the next installment of the story (truthfully, a few times we sat in the car in the driveway for a few extra minutes of listening!!) The back cover of the case lists it as for 12 years and older -- my children are 8, 10, and 12 and I was fine with them hearing it -- there were a few harsh parts (such as when Bill kills Nancy and when Bill dies) but we were listening to it all together as a family, so we paused it and discussed a little bit (and I also turned the volume down a little to diminish the dramatic effect a little at those parts). The story was well done, the sound quality was great, and the listening experience was very enjoyable. The dramatization made it sound as though you were watching a movie with your eyes closed, better than a movie, because your mind was able to imagine.

No surprise, I definitely enjoyed this audio presentation and would recommend it highly. It is not for little children, but it's a great rendition of Dickens' classic work. It's a little over 5 hours and you'll look forward to listening to it!

I received a copy of this audiobook from Tyndale as a part of their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review.

There's a little more info about this on this website as well as a little video showing behind the scenes footage from the recording of it.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sing sing sing sing!! :)

I am so blessed to be able to participate in a county chorus for our rural county! It's an eclectic group of people mostly old enough to be my parents (and older!) -- who are VERY fine musicians!! :) Our director is wonderfully patient with us, and the group is a great blend of music readers and non-readers (but we have enough time to learn the music!)

We begin singing in early September and had our two concerts this weekend, Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. I tell my family that this is pretty much one of the only things I do for just ME. I get to go every Monday night and just SING for an hour and a half. No socializing pressure, no children (sorry kids, I do love you!), nothing else going on but singing (and learning the music!) I'm so thankful for the love of music and the ability to sing (!) and for the opportunity to do something so joyous!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wondrous Works of God by Starr Meade

We will be using this wonderful book beginning in January as a devotional tool in our family! Yes, no question here, I definitely like this book!

This book is titled Wondrous Works of God and is written by Starr Meade, you can check it out here. It is a book of 90 stories from the Bible, chosen and used to show how Scripture points toward the coming of Christ and mankind's redemption. Stories such as Saul and Jonathan, Abram rescues Lot, Hannah Prays for a Son, David collects money for a temple, Jesus heals ten lepers, the Snakebite and the Shipwreck. Stories from both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Each chapter is written in such a lovely way, great to read aloud, and definitely will hold each person's attention. At the end of each chapter is an application section, with conversation starters or ideas for applying truths from the story in our lives.

I loved this book. I am so looking forward to its use in our family. I like that it is so user-friendly, great text and bright, kid-friendly pictures on most pages. I like the explanations of unfamiliar terminology. I like that the stories are not just the same ones found in many children's "Bibles" or Bible story books -- some are ones not even covered much in Sunday School lessons! I like the discussion/application at the end to continue the lesson. I like I like I like. . . :)

So--no surprise--I definitely recommend this book! What a great gift it would make! Why not purchase a few and use them as gifts for families whose homes you visit over the holidays, or for families in your neighborhood?

After seeing this book, I would next like to check out Starr Meade's earlier book, "Mighty Acts of God."

I was given a copy of this book by Crossway Books as a part of their Book Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Unending Devotion by Jody Hedlund

The book Unending Devotion is a Historical Fiction/Historical Romance type book by Jody Hedlund. I've not read other works by this author so I was not sure what to expect.

The book is the story of Lily, an orphan, who is now an adult, still with a responsible guardian, looking for her younger sister who whe suspects has been taken into the world of prostitution. This is her passion in life, to find her sister and make a home for them. The story follows Lily in part of this search and focuses on a romance between her and a lumber worker.

The story goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on. . .

If I had not promised to write a review for this book I don't think I would have continued past the first few chapters. It's very slooooooooooow moving and I really didn't feel like the characters were real people. Maybe because I'm not used to reading these historical fiction books, maybe because I don't usually read romances. I'm not sure why. It just wasn't my cup of tea. I wouldn't recommend it because I would not have even finished it if I had checked it out of the library.

I'm sure there are some who will love this book, just not my style.

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

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Genius of Ancient Man by Don Landis

This schoolyear we are studying ancient history using MFW Creation to the Greeks for my 3 homeschooled kids. This book, The Genius of Ancient Man by Don Landis falls right along with what we've been learning about.

This book uses many ancient artifacts, construction feats, etc. to illustrate that ancient man was not any less cognitively developed. There's a great chapter on monuments, mounds, and pyramids that shows this style of construction all around the world. There is a chapter about Biblical truth and counterfeit (counterfeit religions, practices, etc.) There's a great timeline showing civilizations and central events from the beginning to the 1600's. There are discussions of such topics as the Tower of Babel and the Ice Age. There are wonderful photos of many ancient sites displaying ancient advanced technology, "mysterious" sites (such as Nazca Lines, Peru and Stonhenge, England for example), and Monuments around the world (such as different pyramids, the Terracota Army, some mounds, etc).

The book was great. I highly recommend it. My children enjoyed looking at the pictures, though they haven't read the text. We will be using it along with our studies this year!

I would definitely recommend this book. It's a great explanation of how non-simple ancient man was. Not the "caveman" type societies but rather well-developed societies with more advanced technology than they are usually credited with. On a superficial level, the book is very attractive, a great layout, wonderful pictures, and a compelling cover. Great book.

I received a copy of this book from Master Books, a segment of the New Leaf Publishing Group for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

For more information on this book, check out the publisher's page for it here.

Chocolate-covered Baloney by K D McCrite

Chocolate-covered Baloney is the second book by KD McCrite that I have read to review. It's a book written for the middle-school aged girl, and as I have a child in that age group, I was interested in checking it out. My review of the other April Grace book, Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks is here.

The book follows April Grace and her family through some life-shaking episodes in their family. April Grace and her sister Myra Sue are continually embroiled in some heavy sibling rivalry. An unexpected relative shows up and features strongly in the story as well. I don't want to give away the story, so I'm being intentionally vague :) There are touching family moments as well as harsh disagreements. In the big picture of the story, the family and their neighbors work together as neighbors and family ought to.

So here comes the part where I give my recommendation if any. . .I did enjoy reading the book, it was funny in some parts and easy to read. . .(well, it IS written for jr high aged girls!)


I do not believe I'd want my daughter reading this book. There was an awful lot of name-calling and disrespect that went completely unaddressed. So much so that by the end of the book you hardly notice it--and that's just what I do NOT want my daughter becoming immune to. That kind of talk, though it may occur in some families, will not be stood for in this house. And I don't want us to become callous to it and not recognize it as sinful and wrong.

So--though I think the author wrote an easily readable book, I won't recommend it. Though it's published by a Christian company I didn't see much faith or Christian influence in the book.

I received this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers as a part of their Booksneeze program for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Made in Heaven by Ray Comfort and Jeffrey Seto

FABULOUS BOOK!! Fun, enjoyable, timely read with great illustration! Okay, so I'm a bit of a science geek--I like science, experiments, reading Discover magazine. . .But even if I weren't, this book would be interesting to me!

Made in Heaven, Man's Indiscriminate Stealing of God's Amazing Design is a book of instances in which humans have copied God's design of something in nature to benefit society.

For instance: Velcro. That's a no-brainer, how many of us have had burdocks stuck to us as we walk through a field? Hmmm, burdocks/velcro -- ah, you can easily see how the inventor of velcro came about his inspiration!

The book is full of wonderful examples of natural things being used as patterns for manufactured items. Useful discoveries such as the lotus leaf leading to water repellant fabrics; shark skin leading to fast swimwear; and my family's favorite--the bombardier beetle (I'll let you read about that one yourself!)

My only criticism is that the way the book is made and the cover illustration, etc. make it look like it's a kids' book. It's not. Well, my kids did like it, but that was as I read it to them and we talked about it. I think this book is great for kids, older kids, and adults! It'd make a great book to set out on your coffee table or end table for browsing through!

Through the book it shows how the Great Designer (God) has made all this awesome stuff that humans are using to pattern things after. I didn't really like the subtitle (Man's indiscrimiate stealing of God's Amazing Design--that sounds pretty inflammatory to me), but don't let that keep you from reading it!

This book would also make a great gift for people of many different ages! The book concludes with a salvation message as well, so it's a great tool for spreading the Gospel as well.

I received a copy of this book from Master Books for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

The True Account of Adam and Eve by Ken Ham

Creation, from its absolute beginning--on up through its redemption through Christ-- this book covers a lot of information in a few (56) well-illustrated pages! This book, the True Account of Adam and Eve is just what the title leads you to believe. It's a Biblical account of man, from creation to the sinning/fall/expulsion from the Garden of Eden, and the redemptive work of Christ to pay for our sins.

The book is very well written, clear and explanatory. It's written at a great level for people of all ages to hear/read it and understand its message. There are sections about sin and about Christ dying for our sin. There is a great chart that shows how by looking at the birth/ages of some of the Bible characters, how their lifetimes overlapped with each other. There's also a great illustration and explanation of how population doubles every 150 years and leads to our world populations today.

I appreciated this book. It's very clear, great concise story of human creation, sin, and redemption. The only thing I would make a comment about here is that I hope this book isn't overlooked by older kids as being a "picture book". Yes, it is full of great illustrations, but I think the text is written so that a junior high student could read, understand, and enjoy it. (as long as they don't think it's a babyish book because of the design!)

I would definitely recommend this book. It'd be a great book to use as a read-aloud or for older kids (10 and up) to enjoy on their own.

For more info, please look on the publisher's site for this book! Master Books

I received a copy of this book from New Leaf Publishing for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

After You Drop Them Off by Jeramy and Jerusha Clark

The book entitled After You Drop Them Off is subtitled, "A parent's guide to student ministry," written by husband and wife team Jeramy and Jerusha Ann Clark. The authors speak from their own perspective as youth leaders on many topics related to youth ministry (like high school age youth.) The author writes on such topics as how to know what's going on in the youth group meetings/events, how to get to know the youth staff, how to best pray for your youth ministry, how to give constructive criticism to the youth director, etc.

To me the book wasn't anything surprising. I have children who will (sooner than I care to believe!) be entering the "youth group" age, so I thought maybe I ought to read this book. Well, truthfully, if I had not committed to review the book I might not have finished it. A lot of the information in this book seemed like just logical stuff, or maybe just normal courtesy. Yes, it was in the youth ministry setting, and the points made are valid, just nothing earth shattering :) I will qualify these comments by saying that I was a kid brought up in church/Christian school/Christian campyouth group and as an adult I've been involved in different capacities in the children's and youth ministries, so maybe I'm more familiar than some in the intended audience. Maybe to someone who doesn't know what youth group is would get a lot more out of this book than I.

So--I'll give my recommendation as this-- if you don't know a lot about youth groups/youth ministries, you may find this book to be helpful to you!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Secret Keeper by Dannah Gresh

Have you ever heard Dannah Gresh speak? I had heard her on Moody's Midday Connection a few years ago and I remember being very interested in her great ideas for girls regarding modesty. Skip ahead a few years to now and I have an almost-teenage girl and am so much more interested in Mrs. Gresh's suggestions regarding modesty!

The book Secret Keeper (with the subtitle The Delicate Power of Modesty) is a short, cute-looking, unintimidating sized book. I say that because it's a book written for teen-ish girls and that'll probably feature into their decision of whether to read it or not. The segments are short and interesting to read.

In a world where modesty is definitely not the norm, there are so many influences fighting for our daughters' attention and conformation. Biblical standards are not illustrated too often when we walk through the mall, or often even not always at church! The author directly addresses several different aspects of modesty--clothing, fashion, attitudes, value/worth, etc. She gives brief to the point explanations of why certain things are or are not acceptable--and she also gives guidelines for "modesty" -- for instance if certain clothing is modest or not. She gives easy practical steps for evalutaing items -- with a fun touch.

I am very happy with this book. My daughter will certainly be reading this (probably with me) in the not too distant future. There is also a devotional book which goes along with this book (my review of that is here)

If you are a teenaged girl, have a teenaged daughter/granddaughter, or have influence with a teenage girl, you ought to read this book and give her one as well! I'm very happy with the content of this book and would definitely recommend it!

I received a free copy of this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day by Garry R. Morgan

This book is a great reference to hold a place on our bookshelf! How many times do you hear about someone or a people group who holds to a certain religion and you think to yourself, "Now, what do they believe? What sets them apart?" This little book will give you a quick concise overview of many of the world's religions, including some of the origins of some religions and their historical context. It really does seem quite comprehensive for how short it is. I'm not reviewing this book in terms of accuracy in describing the different religions, I'm not familiar enough with them for that, but as far as the readability and ease of use, this book is very good.

I did appreciate the reminder in the beginning matter which tells readers, "Followers of different faiths sometimes use the same words but intend very different meanings, which can lead to confusion." and, "We need to 1.find out what people actually believe and 2.not assume words mean the same thing in every context."

I would recommend this book. It's a great resource for homeschooling as well as daily life! Easy to read concise word pictures of many of the different religions in the world.

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

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Great zipper fix!!

My daughter's winter coat zipper would not "start" -- the end of the zipper was a little frayed and it wouldn't fit into the slot on the bottom of the connection side (a little hard to describe. . .)

So, I thought, if I could just widen that receiver end a little. . .but the zipper is plastic, and I didn't want to crack it--so here's what I did :)

I used a table knife to kind of wedge it open a little more and poured boiling water over the zipper end in a cake pan, and let it sit in the hot water till it cooled. Then I put ice water in to chill it up, and . . .VOILA!! :) It opened up enough to zip the coat easily!


Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden

Now here's a good book for you! This book, Against the Tide, by Elizabeth Camden, has a beautiful, striking cover (okay, I know it's superficial, but it is a nice cover!). . .and now that we've gotten that out of the way :) I'll say that this is a wonderful book. I enjoyed reading this book over the course of several days and I think it'll be enjoyed by a broad audience. I have not read anything else by E. Camden, but having read this one, I'll gladly move on to her other books!

Against the Tide begins with the tragic story of a little girl who started out life in an unconventional home before being orphaned in a new place where she did not even speak the language. This little girl, Lydia, grows up alone and gains an interesting job using her linguistic talents. As the book progresses, she is faced with many difficulties and challenges. She meets the male "hero" of the story, a man obsessed with ridding the country of opium, its trade, and its insidious usage. They join forces (first of all her intent is just to earn enough money to save her home, but then she begins to believe in the fight on its own virtue) and become involved in a dramatic adventure to stop the biggest force behind opium in their area.

I was drawn in by this story. It's an emotional story, sorrow over Lydia's ever-increasing difficulties, anxiety when they're sneaking around gaining information, terror regarding the kidnapping of a child (and later semi-kidnapping of Lydia),discouragement on many fronts including fighting an addiction, hope of plans succeeding or nearly so, adoration and love growing, etc. This was not just your typical "romance" -- where you can see the end coming before you're into the story too far -- I'd rather call it more a historical fiction, centering on the opium trade and usage in the late 1800's. I will say that I did not fly through this book -- it is a nice length, the story line is quite developed, and the characters are full.

I really enjoyed reading this book, and I'll be looking for others by this author--it was not only a good story, but also a nicely-written adventure.

I received a copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Ginger-Clementine cream cheese spread!

Delicious concoction tonight!! :) We mixed softened cream cheese together with the "zest" of one clementine, the juice of two clementines, and some chopped ginger. Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!! We used it as a spread on some baguette slices to accompany our dinner -- everyone loved it!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fire of the Raging Dragon by Don Brown

If you enjoy tactical adventure books, take a look at this! Fire of the Raging Dragon by Don Brown is a detail-filled military adventure without gore or bad language. Published by Zondervan, a Christian publisher, some of those mainstays of regular books of this genre are pleasantly missing.

The story begins at some point in the future and follows as tensions between China and Taiwan escalate into suspicion and fighting, which eventually draw in the United States. The story jumps back and forth between the opposing sides and their respective commands. The fighting between the Chinese and Taiwanese forces expands when an atrocity of huge proportions is found on one of the captured ships. An American military physician is called in to document and from there the US becomes involved at a different level than their previous neutrality.

(I'm not going to tell you too much more, because I do not want to spoil the story)

There is a little twist in the story--the President's daughter is a member of the US Navy and is stationed on one of the boats entangled in the tensions. As the President makes decisions on this front, he is faced with this added detail, as are several other members of the service.

I would recommend this book if you like this military drama type of book. It is a bit choppy in style, jumping back and forth from one country/ship to the next, but you soon get used to that type of writing. I did think that there were some sections that were superfluous--not sure how/why they were included, but for the most part it was easy to follow the story line. It did take me a bit to get into the story--if you begin and it seems a little dry, I'd encourage you to keep on a little further.

One of the nice things about this book is its lack of swearing/inappropriate language. Don Brown shows that this is not a necessary element in a military drama.

To see the book on the publisher page, as well as a little video intro to it, please click here for the Zondervan product page.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Friday, November 2, 2012

MMMMMMMM :) Pumpkin!

Blessings come in all different ways. Last night I read in the local Front Porch Forum about someone who was selling the rest of their post-Halloween pumpkins for a great price. My daughter and I went out to check them out today and they had a pile of pie pumpkins -- so we came home with 14.

I cut them in two, my 3 kids scooped out all the inside strings and seeds. . .and then we baked/roasted them in the oven for an hour until they were soft. At this point we weren't quite sure how to make it nice and smooth, so we tried different things. First we tried a foley food mill. This seemed to hold back just too much pulp and only squeeze through a very liquidy small amount. Next we tried the blender -- didn't work. SO -- we settled on the masher and hand blender to partially puree it and THEN put it in the blender --- wonderful!!!!!!!!!

We packaged it in 4c and 2c portions and popped it in the freezer and it's being frozen right now. We had about 12 2-cup portions and three 4-cup portions and one a little over 4c. We'll be having a LOT of great pumpkin treats this winter!!

Now, you didn't think I'd freeze it all, did you? We also made two delicious pumpkin pies -- I'm not a huge fan of pumpkin pies that we usually have at Thanksgiving, made with the canned pumpkin pie filling -- but this was DELICIOUS! Yummmmmmmmm!!

A great blessing indeed.

(great linkup today with Farmgirl Friday Bloghop!)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur

Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur is a book which gives a brief bio/overview of the life of several Bible characters which the author has labelled as heroes. This list contains many of the "obvious" ones (if you've been brought up reading/hearing the Bible) -- such as Joseph and Esther and some others who you perhaps wouldn't think of in view of this title -- people such as Enoch and Onesimus.

In the introduction of the book the author defines his meaning of the word "HERO" -- not as it's used often today, sports heroes, superheroes, movie stars, etc. but rather as "Men and women whom God used in unique and powerful ways to accomplish His purposes. Their exploits vary greatly, yet the common thread that runs through all of their testimonies is faith." He also acknowledges that, "They had quirks, flaws, and shortcomings. But through the power of God, they were used in mighty ways to accomplish His purposes and bring Him glory." He goes on to introduce 12 Bible characters and show how they fit this definition of hero.

I will tell you that my favorite parts of this book were the introduction and the epilogue. Sections which some people skip right over. But -- in my mind, the most powerful parts of this book. I had some trouble with some of the chapters -- the beginning chapter -- Enoch -- had a lot of info from sources other than the Bible and got all twisted up with stories of other individuals, just picking here and there some segments of Enoch. In my mind this was not a good start to the book. One of the "heroes" was Miriam, and I don't really think I would have included her in with this definition of a hero.

I will say that the book is easily-readable -- written in a way to be able to read it clearly and easily. There are a lot of historical (not from the Bible) details given, and for some of them, this part is how the author calls them heroes (James especially).

Did I like the book? Well, I liked the intro and epilogue. The rest was fine. It was a good overview/review of several Bible characters. Having been brought up in a Christian home and church, much of what I read in this book was familiar. To someone with a different background it may be more "wow". As for me, I probably won't read it again.

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

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Cowboy candy!!!


We had a huge crop of peppers this year -- lots of jalapenos and banana peppers and some othe hot ones that I got from my father in law -- little cute red and green round ones. Now, my family is not the fire-breathing-pepper loving type, and we had made salsa with lots of the peppers, but they just kept producing and producing!

So what to do with such a bounty? A few weeks ago I found this recipe for "cowboy candy" which is pretty much candied/pickled jalapenos. We tried making some and a few weeks following the canning we tried them and they are DELICIOUS!!! Not too crazy-hot, but hot and crisp.

So -- when we had to bring all the remaining things in from the garden before an overnight heavy freeze, we were set for lots more of this delicious use of peppers!

(by the way, in case you're wondering what I did with all that eggplant -- baba ganoush!! I'd never had it before, but it was such an easy recipe and DELICIOUS also -- we made lots and froze the extra. Here's the recipe we used for that -- here.

Coming Home by Max Lucado -- disappointing!

The book Coming Home by Max Lucado is written as a children's book. It has nice illustrations and a cover that catches the eye of little boys (or girls) who are interested in pirate/lost at sea type stories. As I read the note inside the front cover, written to parents, it still sounded good. It was to be an "allegorical tale about the second coming of Christ." Interesting.

Unfortunately, to me, that was just about as far as the "positive" thoughts on this book go. The story jumps right in to a setting on an island where a captain and two young boys live. The captain is leaving and the boys will be left until he returns. All is gray on the island except for their hair and eyes. They have all lived there for fourteen years. They are to remain on the beach, the safe area, and not venture into the forest. The forest is where all the other living creatures reside (and they are all gray as well -- due to the eruption of a volcano long ago (Okay, my mind races with questions -- fourteen years? what did they eat? how did they survive the seasons? especially if they never see/hear etc the other creatures? How is everything still covered with gray? etc etc.) Okay, it's an allegory, I get that--fairy tale like I suppose?

Anyhow, those questions fade into head-shaking as the story goes on. The twin boys are left alone with a little mantra to repeat and with each other's eyes and hair to look at. One twin ventures into the forest and turns grayish. The other waits faithfully for the captain's return. The captain returns and the faithful boy joins him; the unfaithful one also joins them in the boat; the captain touches him and he returns to color. And they sail off.

Ummmm. . . .Max Lucado? What are you telling us? I am confused. Is the allegorical correlation of the return the Lord's return? or death? And are you saying that the choice of following God can be made after that point? Doesn't sound like the message I'd expect from you. And it is not the message I want to pass on to anyone else.

So -- did I like the book? No.

Would I recommend it? No.

Would I give it as a gift? No.

Will I read it to my children? No.

Allegory aside, I did not even like the story! I surely will not recommend it.

I received this book as a part of the homeschool review program of Crossway books. I was not required to write a positive review.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The One Year Be-Tween You and God by Sandra Byrd

I am always looking for devotional books for my daughter, ones that she will like and use and learn from. This new publication by Tyndale, The One Year Be-Tween You and God is written for the pre-teen, early teen age that she falls into right now. I was excited to get a chance to get a look at this book and to review it!

First off, the book looks lovely, it has a gorgeous leather cover and actually kind of looks like a Bible. It's not too large, and definitely cute. So there's the superficial part :) . (But hey, it appealed to my daughter!!)

Inside the book are devotionals for every day. They begin with a question. . .one that is meaningful to girls of this age -- for instance, "Dear God, my brother and I don't get along. Seriously. What should I do?" After the question is a discussion of Biblical answer to the question, with a Bible verse which relates written out near the bottom of the page. There's also a question for thought or response.

Reading through the topics, they seemed very much the things that my daughter is concerned with. Things like discipline, fairness, styles, debt, siblings, parents, emotions, and on and on. Topics that are right there at that age.

I was very pleased to see that the topics are right at that age level. Not way above, not things that older teens are dealing with, but those just entering the teen years.

As far as my daughter's thoughts on this book -- It is a great book, a great devotional, short sections, good topics, cute cover, not too weird topics. I will be able to use this every day.

I am very pleased with this book, and I will be stocking up on it -- it's a great book to use as a gift for many of my nieces and also my daughter's friends. I would recommend this book for sure.

There ARE a few things I wish were a little different -- I wish there had been a section for journaling or writing out their thoughts/responses to the questions. I also wish the Scripture verse featured more prominently on the page, rather than in a small corner near the bottom.

Nevertheless, I still think this is a great tool to aid in a young girl's daily walk with God.

GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have the opportunity to give one copy of this book away to a blog reader! Please enter this giveaway by becoming a follower (if you aren't already) and by leaving a comment on this post! Make sure that I have an email or a way to contact you if you're the winner! I will choose a winner on October 22, 2012!

**I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale publishers for the purpose of this review.

Great for God by D. Shibley

Great for God by David Shibley has the subtitle "Missionaries Who Changed the World." The book is made up of short summaries of 23 different missionaries. At the start of each section is the missionary's name, their date/place of birth, their date/place of death, their "legacy", and a quote by that individual. After this is a narrative section of a few pages which gives a short summary of their life as it relates to missions.

I was pleased with this book in a sense. At first I was disappointed because each segment is so short (!) and I really wished to read more about these people, more details. I think I am just used to reading missionary biographies (such as the Christian Heroes Then and Now) which tell the life story, using an entire book on one individual.

After I had reconciled myself to the fact that this is meant to be a brief introduction/overview of different missionaries, I came to see it as a book about missions/missionaries rather than about individual missionaries. That statement may sound a little confusing, but what I meant by it is that throughout reading this book it will be obvious that there is no ONE type of missionary, no ONE way of "doing" missions, no ONE set pattern, no ONE background, etc. Missionaries are people who spread the gospel, in many different ways, in many different places and settings. This book introduces several different missionaries, some well-known, others less-known. If you are a person like me who likes to read more than just a few pages about these individuals, there are books available elsewhere to expand on the names you read about here.

I would recommend this book as a picture of missions and missionaries. It's also useful in introducing the names of missionaries you may wish to learn more about.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

knitting! :)

Well, somehow I have become inspired to knit a little! I know how to knit, but haven't really enjoyed it lately/in the past -- but I've been truly enjoying knitting lately! I made a really quick and easy hat -- found the pattern here. Cute, huh? (here's my version)

To make this a super inexpensive project, the yarn which I used was actually from an ugly wool sweater that I bought at a rummage sale for the purpose of using the yarn :) So glad to have this cute hat and lots of yarn left for other projects!

My knitting frenzy is continuing -- I made my husband an easy men's hat and am in the middle of a super cute fish hat for my youngest daughter -- will post a pic later!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Perfect Lies by Jennifer Crow

There are many thoughts/feelings/emotions that seem to control our lives as human beings. Not just women, but men too. Some of those are valid, others are lies that Satan introduces to our minds and bodies at different spots in our lives.

This book by Jennifer Crow, Perfect Lies reminds us of those lies and of the fact that they ARE lies.

Lies such as
I must be perfect because my actions define who I am.

I must gain the acceptance of others because their opinion matters


I must indulge myself in order to be happy.

These are just a few of the lies the author "exposes" and illustrates. She is painfully honest in her recounting of these lies in her life and the roles they played in crumbling her physically, emotionally, and nearly spiritually.

BUT she also recounts how she has had TRUTH conquer these lies. Truth from God based in Scripture. She speaks of Meditative Prayer (meditating on Scripture and praying Scripture) and how it has transformed her life.

Big picture -- I thought it was a good, helpful book. I have a family member who wants to borrow and read it too. Some of her methods were maybe not quite for me (I am not really impacted by her "guided imagery" style) but the truths she used in turning away the lies Satan uses in our lives were definitely helpful.

I think this book could be very helpful to many different people who either admit or don't admit that they have problems with these lies :)

I received a copy of this book from Tyndale in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Labor Day, summer's "end" ?

Can summer possibly be coming to an end? The evenings are getting colder, requiring a sweatshirt, but the days are still warm/hot. Ahhhhhh :) What a great time of the year! I think I'm in denial about the end of summer.

Today I would like to mention that I am so thankful for where God has placed us for this time in our lives. We are very blessed to live on an island in the lake, so we have a wonderful town "beach" which is just a mostly-rocky cove nearby. I'm so thankful for the opportunities He gives us, and I'm thankful for a wonderful family with which to share those opportunities.

Are we in denial that summer is ending? :) Nah, we love fall too. . .but why not make the most of these last days of summertime?

Answers Book for Teens vol 2

Answers Book for Teens vol 2 by Bodie Hodge, Tommy Mitchell, and Ken Ham is the second in a series that I hope will expand even further! Back in January I reviewed the first book in this installment (here) and was very pleased with that book. The second is definitely a valuable book as well!

The authors confront even more issues which are important to a teen, or truthfully, any of us at any age. The format is a question (such as "Isn't natural selection evolution? or "Noah's Ark. . .really?") The answers are given in conversational form, easy to read and understand, yet not lacking in depth. They are godly answers, backed up with Scripture, to questions teens face every day.

As I had mentioned in my review of the first book, this book would be a wonderful resource for a college-aged student as well as "teens". College years are so full of searching, questioning, etc. that this book could be a great help for. Don't let the title limit you!

I would recommend this book for sure. It'd make a great gift for a teen or even a good resource to have on your own shelves. It's full of good info and you may want to lend it out as well! Not just for teens! I even "caught" my non-religious father-in-law reading through it with interest! Good tool for sharing Scriptural explanations as well!

This book definitely receives a positive rating from me!

I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Fully Alive by Ken Davis

I just finished reading "Fully Alive" by Ken Davis and I'd like to share my thoughts about this book with you! I was excited to read this book, as I've heard Ken Davis's little spots on the Christian radio station for years now and they have usually elicited a laugh.

The book begins with a story of Mr Davis's granddaughter lost on a mountain. This terror-filled time (and the blessing of her return) pushed him into a journey to become "fully alive".

The book chronicles his successes in recent life and how they've been possible, how he is living life fully alive. . .it kind of reads like an inspirational self-help book at times, with a LOT of focus on losing weight and exercising. Not just one chapter, but a big chunk of the book. There are stories and illustrations in the book, but not lots of Scripture. Many personal stories and inspirational stories of others, all used to show how you can and should maximize your life.

So what did I think of it? That's a tough one. I wouldn't really say I liked it; I probably wouldn't have finished it had I not promised to read and review it. But it was not all bad :) Reading through it there were parts which were interesting to me, parts which were not and parts which brought tears to my eyes. I guess maybe it was a lot like other books I've read, good inspirational reminders, but not like "wow".

Read it if you like, maybe it'll be your favorite! Or maybe not. Or maybe you need ideas and inspiration to lose weight through healthy eating and exercise. This is a good book for that (lots of words dedicated to that!) I guess I'm pretty ambivalent on this one.

I received a free copy of this book for the purpose of this review.

Unstuck by Arnie Cole and Michael Ross

This book Unstuck has a subtitle of "Your Life. God's Design. Real Change." I liked the concept of this book before I even began. Who of us hasn't felt "stuck" or at least kind of paused in life.

The book encourages us to read Scripture, and read it at least four days a week. There are sections relating to fear, "religion", different sins, ambivalence, and many other areas which will touch each of our lives. The power of God and the power of timeless Scripture are highlighted. We are not only encouraged to read the Bible but also to put it into practice, and the authors explain that as well.

There are many personal examples from the authors' lives, which made the book easier to understand and more interesting, and there were lots of statistics. Lots of statistics. Maybe too many for me, but I know that some people thrive on data, so maybe this is helpful for them.

At times the book seemed a bit dry, but truthfully, God spoke to me through reading it. I would suggest you read it as well and see if God will use it in your life as well!

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Friday, August 10, 2012


Several weeks ago I was reading in Numbers 15 about Moses telling the people of Israel to put tassels on their garments to remind them about the Lord's commandments and to follow the Lord. I had probably read this passage many times before or heard it, but it never struck me before. As a pretty busy mom reminders for many different things are NECESSARY in my life -- and yes, I do post Bible verses in different places where I will notice them, but then sometimes I overlook those too.

So -- Tassels? Hmmm. . . what quickly popped into my mind was bracelets, the easy quick ones made of twisted embroidery floss that my young daughters like to make :)

Following this thought, a few weeks ago my kids and I made bracelets to remind us of certain things we need to remember about following God. My one biggie is contentment. (sigh) So my contentment bracelet went on and YES!!!! It has helped! I've had one on for over a month and it does remind me to be content and to claim those verses about contentment. Here's one. . .

Philippians 4:12-13

12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Yup, my "tassels" are definitely reminding me to follow God and cling to His Word -- I am definitely amazed at how weak I am and how many times I return to that discontent and pop out of the discontentment and back into claiming God's Word.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Silly sewing survey question :)

I am teaching my daughter to sew and this topic has come up which I'd never thought about before. . .

How do you hold your foot on the foot pedal of your sewing machine?

It seems like a one-answer question, but for me, I always sew with my right shoe off and my heel on the floor, toe part on the non-hinge end of the pedal (long answer, right?!)

When I was teaching my daughter, she asked why not just use it the other way, with your foot resting all the time on the pedal, heel at the ridged part over the hinges. Now that she asked that it looks like maybe that's the way it's intended to be used!! :)

I don't know why I do it the way I do, but it's the most comfy with most control for me.

How about you?


Short-Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer

The title of the book "Short-Straw Bride" will make the reader expect a love story, a romance, and truthfully--that is not the type of book I enjoy.


I LOVED this book! It is not really a romance, more a historical fiction. Okay, there's romance too. The book centers on two interesting and likeable characters and their interesting relationship. There is a full cast of supporting characters and they are each developed nicely.

The story focuses on Meredith (an orphaned young woman caught in the deceitfulness of her aunt and uncle) and Travis (a reclusive young man who is the head of his reclusive family of brothers). I do not want to give away details, so I'll leave it at that. It's a great story, full of humor and misunderstandings. Yes, there's love but not gushy sappy stuff. It's a fun story with a few twists.

I recommend this book! It is a quick, easy, fun read. I didn't want to put it down! The book was over before I knew it. Sometimes it's fun to read a book just for the entertainment value, and this was one such. It's a very clean, inoffensive book and I enjoyed it! Give it a try!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Call of a Coward by Marcia Moston

Call of a Coward by Marcia Moston is subtitled "The God of Moses and the Middle-Class Housewife). That title alone is intriguing to me, introducing thoughts of cowardice and what it is/is not and how that is reflected in my life. And that was before I even read the book!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Call of a Coward. The author seems so transparent, and so. . .NORMAL!! She struggles with the same things I do and wish I did not! Marcia and her husband and young daughter followed God's leading to go to a village in Guatemala for a season of their lives. This book shows glimpses into their lives during this time, from the initial "call" to the "how they got there" to "how did they make it?" to "what happened then?" (haha, you thought I was going to tell you what it was all about, didn't you? Nope! You have to read the book!!)

This family seemed so much like what regular people are. My kids and I read many many biographies of missionaries and they seem kind of different or better or more godly than we are. I know they were just people too, but they seem to have that "shine" or "magic" which moves them a little away from our lives. The Mostons make missions appear to be more within the average family's reach. I appreciate this aspect of the book!

Beyond all that praise (!) I will also say that Call of a Coward is a very interesting book, enjoyable to read. It's not a thorough story and leaves you wishing for a little more detail or explanation at times, which is a good thing I think. As to the theme of the book (the coward thing) I know I'd lump myself in with the coward title. It is hard to wait on the Lord and follow unquestioningly what He wants for us. I really resonate with the feelings of wanting to follow Him but wishing it was easier!! :)

I would recommend this book for sure! It is not just a book about missions or short-term missions but really about a life of wanting to follow God and then going through with it. Good job Marcia Moston on making this book so versatile!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Secret Keeper Devotional by Dannah Gresh

Secret Keeper Devotional by Dannah Gresh is a companion to the Secret Keeper book by the same author. It is a daily devotional which focuses on the themes of modesty expounded upon in the book. So many things which abound in today's culture are opposite to a Biblical way of living -- this book does a great job of pointing many of them out. It calls teens to really check out what they are doing and how they are living and decide if it fits within a godly pattern of living as set forth in God's plan-book (the Bible). The format of the devotionals is a verse from the Bible and a topic for the day which is addressed in a narrative/teaching section and followed with questions for thought and application and some leading questions and a lot of blank lines for journaling on the topic.

This book is a great devotional tool for older teenage girls (I say "older" because I have a younger teen and I think some of the topics are just abover her at this point) truthfull, I think that it would be a great tool for a group of college aged young women. The topics are definitely timely and relatable. It's a good companion to the Secret Keeper book.

Another helpful feature of this book is the leader's guide in the end. This book is a good Bible Study tool for teens and the leader's guide makes it very easy for someone to run a Bible study using this book -- full of great ideas and ways to keep it to the theme. As a group study this book would give girls some very important ideas to think about and discuss as well as make decisions to utilize in their lives.

I certainly recommend this book when used with the accompanying book Secret Keeper (a few of the sections are much better understood having read the book).

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purposes of this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Big Truths for Little Kids by Susan and Richie Hunt

The book Big Truths for Little Kids is a nice devotional book for parents to read with their children. It is centered on catechism (learning the answers to repeat back to specific questions). Each segment has a set of the catechism questions/answers for children to learn and then a story (a series throughout the book) in which the child/children are faced with a situation where they need the answers to the catechisms as a part of their normal lives.

The stories are sweet, and the follow-up questions for discussion and Bible verse and prayer suggestion are a great accompaniment to making this an easy daily devotional for you to do with your young children. My youngest child is almost 8 and I'd say this book is just on the border of being too "babyish" for her (her words). It's a good book for younger children though (toddler through 6 or 7).

I have mixed feelings on the focus on catechism. On the surface I'd say flat out that Scripture memory is much more important than memorizing the proper answers to these questions. On the other side of that, I had to learn the catechism (although the form in this book is much more child-friendly wording) and I can still remember a lot of it to this day. Kids are good at memorizing, they just are. And having ready answers on the tops of their heads is not a bad thing. So -- I don't see a harm in having them learn the catechism, as long as it is not taking the place of Scripture or given more weight than Scripture.

I'd recommend this book--it's a great devotional tool to use with younger kids!

I received a free copy of this book as a part of the Homeschool Book Review Program of Crossway Books. I was not required to write a positive review.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tough Guys and Drama Queens by Mark Gregston

Teenagers! I do not yet have one, although it’s coming soon! You hear all kinds of horror stories about parenting during the teenage years, so why not try to head it off and have at least a game plan for the teenage years? Sounds good, right? This book Tough Guys and Drama Queens gives stories and ideas for parenting throughout the teenage years.

The author gives negative examples of poor parenting and gives positive examples of his policies in working with teens at his residential program. He visits such topics as picking your battles, forgiveness, grace, and mercy, respect, independence, and so many others. The layout of the book is basically first of all, what the teenage culture looks like today, then how you should not parent, and finally how you should. There are plenty of examples and real-life applications.

I did like this book, and throughout reading it I began thinking that I need to do more to mentally and spiritually prepare our family for the teenage years, whether it be reading more books or other things. My philosophy for so much of what we do with/for our children is to prepare them to be responsible adults, and this book is one tool to help with that goal. I'm not sure that I agree with all the ideas in this book, but like much of life, there are good ideas in it, something to be learned from it!

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