Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Unglued Devotional by Lysa Terkeurst

Great little devotional readings in this book by Lysa Terkeurst. There are 60 days worth of short readings to re-center you on your Christian focus for the day! Each one is an interesting little read, one that hits home with most women -- topics such as conflict, grace, friends, family, spouses, children, our failings :), etc. Each day has a Scripture verse, a little "sound bite" quote, a short story/application, and a suggested prayer at the end. Uplifting and touching.

I'd certainly recommend this book to go along with a regular Bible reading plan for each day. I think it's a little light on the Bible reading, but you can do that on your own, additionally. It gives you a little burst of spiritual inspiration or encouragement and can be read at any time of the day! You'll enjoy this and find that God can speak to you where you are through these little chapters.

It would also make a nice gift for women in your life -- even those who do you're not sure spend regular time with the Lord. This just might help them start a great habit!

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

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

In the Land of Blue Burqas

This excellent book, written by (pseudonym) Kate McCord, is an accounting of an American Christian woman's work in Afghanistan as she lived in the country and ran a NGO (nongovernmental organization) to provide humanitarian aid within the country.

This book is wonderful. The author tells about many interactions she had with the Afghan people, men and women. She speaks about how she had to live/dress/act in order to function safely within the country. Things we would not know, nor ever even imagine. The author explains many aspects of Islam and how interwoven and formative it is to Afghan society.

The lives of the women were so different from our lives in America; so filled with sadness, fear, despair, violence, dictated by male family members and their interpretation of their holy book. The author, from America, formed relationships of differing lengths with so many women and interacted with them. She listened and she talked. So many times when she was asked about how certain things are done in America she changed the conversation with her answer, not about how things are done in the US, but rather how God wants things to be done according to His Word in the Bible.

I feel that this review does not do justice to this book. It is a powerful book, one which will open your eyes to many different aspects of life in another culture, one entrenched in Islam.

I would highly recommend this book. It is well-written, it is interesting, it is eye-opening, and it is a window into another culture, so very different from ours.

The book can be found here at Moody Press as well as at Amazon and most other book retailers.

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.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Yummy and EASY treat!!

I'm not much of a candy maker -- I always have trouble in distinguishing things like "soft ball stage" and all those terms used in candy-making -- and my candy thermometer always seems to be missing/used for something else like feather scalding water (and not to be returned to the kitchen!)/ or broken. So -- I don't make much candy.

BUT -- this post by someone I don't know, which was shared with me by a friend--has inspired me and has become a family favorite!!

It's SO easy! Bananas chunked up and covered with a 1/2 chocolate chip/1/2 peanut butter melted mixture--

Here's how I made these:

I took 4 bananas and cut them up into 1" chunks or so.
Place 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 cup peanut butter in glass bowl
Melt in microwave for 1.5 minutes --peanut butter will be melt-y but chips not quite -- stir and stir till chips are also melted.

Then! Drop banana pieces into the chocolate/pb mix and lift out with fork. Place on waxed paper. When all are done, pop it into the freezer until they harden up a bit - and eat!!

They are a wonderful consistency -- a little soft-ish for the choc/pb outer layer and a chewy banana center. Ours didn't harden like a rock -- at least not after a day or two (they won't last that long here!) plus they are in our freezer above the fridge, not the deep-freeze. I don' t know what would happen if they were in the deep freeze, if they might get too hard?

Anyhow -- give them a try! It's AMAZING!!!!!!!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen

The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen is a nice book, entertaining and clean. I think it'd be classed as a historical romance, or historical fiction. Set in the early 1800's, it's the story of a young woman and her father. The father has been running his own private school to prepare young men for college, but due to his wife's dying and his subsequent disinterest in the students or the business, his school is failing. He has the opportunity to serve as private tutor to two young brothers of previous students and so he packs up and leaves his home, bringing his young adult daughter with him.

The story follows their trip to this new position--from their disappointing reception to the struggles with the students and their mother, as well as some mysterious happenings in the manor. Emma (the daughter) holds secret feelings of affection for one of the older brothers, but throughout the story those are put to the test and her feelings undergo a change. There are some threats made toward Emma, culminating in a . . .well, I'm not going to tell you! You'll have to read it!

I don't want to give too much away -- there is some gentle romantic undertones, some historical settings/living, and some mystery. Some of it feels a bit Jane Eyre-ish, in a good way. It's a long book, around 400 pages, but truthfully I didn't lose interest or find it too slow. It IS a bit predictable, but in a good way :). I will add that I do not usually like historic romances of this time period--but I did like this one--I think maybe because it's not too heavy on focusing on bits of the time period, and definitely not too focused on the "romance".

I would recommend this book to someone who likes to read fiction--historic fiction as well. It's not really a book to learn about history in, but just set in the different time period.

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.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Lie by Ken Ham

The Lie by Ken Ham is a book with the subtitle on the cover: THE LIE: Evolution/Millions of Years. Now, I'm not going to review the entire creation vs evolution debate. I personally believe in Biblical truth and creationism, so my theology is similar to this book's author. I WILL say that the book has good information in it for someone wanting to learn more about creationism and Biblical truth, as well as lots of supports and examples about creationism. Unfortunately I did find this book to be rather dry -- and I felt like I was reading through a series of essays, rather than one flowing thought. I had to make myself read it--but I'm not sure the author was looking for readability so much as for getting out his information. So -- it'd be worth it for you to read, but maybe not an easy/enjoyable read.

The content isn't just limited to the origins debate, but also touches on different topics which are affected by what you believe as origins/truth. Topics such as people groups, marriage, morality, etc.

I'd recommend this book because of the subject matter, though it is a bit tiresome to read through in entirety. Maybe just reading a chapter a week or every few days would've been easier. It's a book we'll probably keep and use again in the future.

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. More info about this book may be found here.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Canning Chicken for Chicken & Biscuits

Here's a new favorite way for us to can chicken! I've been canning chicken for several years (using the pressure canner, of course!). Usually I can it in pint jars and we use it in a variety of ways. This past December we were given 30 laying hens that had outlived their maximum productivity (and they are organic, so we couldn't turn down 30 organic chickens, despite all the hard work of processing them in the snow--brrrrrr and their smaller size!)-- We had 2 deer in the freezer, so I wanted to can most of the chicken. . .I thought about the meals we like to have with canned chicken, and one of them is chicken and dumplings/chicken and biscuits. Usually I use one pint of the canned chicken and canned chicken stock--so I figured I'd try to can chicken with stock for the purposes of this meal.

I actually used the breast meat and the tenders--cut them into bite sized pieces and put them (raw) into quart jars. I filled each jar about 1/3 of the way with the chicken. Then I filled the jar with boiling water and pressure canned them for the full time of canning raw chicken (90 min) and voila! They sit on my canning shelves just ready for a quick meal!

And who doesn't love chicken & dumplings or chicken & biscuits ready in a snap?!



Monday, February 4, 2013

Moon Over Edisto by Beth Webb Hart

Looking for an enjoyable read? Give Moon Over Edisto a try! This book writeen by Beth Webb Hart is all kinds of good reading -- makes you cry, makes you hopeful, makes you love the characters, and is a well-written, all-round enjoyable book!

The main character of the book, Julia, is a 40-year old woman who is pretty much on her own, having grown up and left a father who abandoned her family for another woman, and struck out on her own to take care of herself and her own needs. She has a great art career and is engaged to a man who seems like the ultimate in her circle.

Her well-crafted life hits a sharp jerk as she is called upon to do some things out of ultimate selflessness. I don't want to give away the story at all, because it is a great story. Even the blurb on the back of the book gives away too much! :) Read it and you'll see what I mean!

The author describes island life off the coast of South Carolina in such a way that you feel wistful and wish that you had grown up there, or were living there now. Descriptive writing helps you to picture the setting and surroundings, and you really get a feel for each of the characters.

There is a little bit of romance, and yes, it is kind of predictable in parts, but it's a good-predictable -- you hope it will turn out as it does.

I'd definitely recommend this book. It's a light read, one you won't want to put down. One you'll want to pass on to your friends! After reading this book I'll be looking for others by this author!

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

World Literature by James Stobaugh

Let me begin this review by saying that I have not actually used this curriculum with my children. I received the book for review and here are my thoughts upon going through the student text as well as the teacher's guide.

The Good --

I like the scope of this literature course. It ranges from ancient history (Sumerians, Egyptians, Ancient Greece, etc) through early church history and the modern age. It highlights literature from many different areas around the world -- China, India, Persian & Arabic, Europe, etc. Organized in a timeline fashion--chronologically through different ages. Literary works are interpreted through a Christian viewpoint.

The Bad --

Teacher's guide does not include the literature texts that the student book does. Much of the literature is not included in the student text but rather has to be checked out of the library or purchased. Set-up is as an independent study, however for many of the discussion/for thought questions, it'd be helpful to hear other viewpoints as well (discussion setting -- at least with a parent or family if done as an individual homeschooler)

The Ugly --

This curriculum is set up in such a way that the author suggests that the student read the major works the summer before the course. And I mean MAJOR! Works such as The Illiad, The Odyssey, War and Peace, Crime and Punishment, Faust, etc. I don't like that. Not that I don't want them to read them as a part of this course, but if reading those makes the course too long, just split it up! I like to keep my children's summers precious. They ARE still children!

Soooooooo . . .my thoughts? I think that we actually WILL use this textbook, just not as intended. I think we'll use it in conjunction with world history. I think we'll use it as a multi-year course. I think we'll use chapters, not go through the entire text.

Not what I expected, but I think we'll find a way to make it useful for us!

I received a copy of this book and the teacher guide for free from Master Books (here) for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review.