Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools Sampler Pack – my REVIEW

Are you involved in sharing Christ with children?  Well, why not???  Maybe you are a part of a children’s ministry, or maybe you know someone who has young children.  Most, if not all, of us know a child, perhaps one who does not know Christ.  The company Let the Little Children Come produces many different tools to make sharing the Gospel easier.  By looking on their website you will see what they have available, but sometimes you can get a better feel for a product by being able to hold it and look at it “in real life.”

 Let the Little Children Come Gospel Tracks
Let the Little Children Come has a product you can order called the Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools Sampler Pack.  This is a set of ten different items that you can order (in packages of multiples) if you would like to utilize them.  The package has items that you can use with a child (or adult, for that matter!) to walk them through the Gospel pathway.  Things like the wordless book, a wordless book bracelet, a wordless book bracelet kit, and a wordless book foldy-thing (what IS that thing called? It’s like a puzzle—you keep unfolding it in different ways and different pages “magically” come to the forefront!) 

One of the products that you could use in person or to give out to a child to look over independently is pop-up tracts.  Who doesn’t love pop-up books?  These are mini little books that share the story of Jesus, one with an Easter theme, and one that talks about heaven.  These are cute and attractive and a child would probably want to open them up to see the pop-up sections, perhaps having a parent or other grown-up read it to them as they flip through.  (Good way to share the Gospel with the moms and dads too!)
 Let the Little Children Come Gospel Tracks

The other really cool style of tract/booklet is called the animated tracts.  These are really neat little booklets with plastic “key” type thing that you hold over the funky-stripey looking picture and when you move it side to side the figures appear to move!  Cool!  J  I’ve seen kids’ books in the library that use similar things to make the picture seem to have motion.  It’s fun!  There are three of these animated tracts in the sampler pack – one is the Christmas story, one is about John 3:16, and the third is about God and heaven.  As with the pop-up tracts mentioned above, these are ones that children will go over again and again.  {{**The ONLY thing I dislike about these is that the grid plastic piece is not attached in any way, and without that, the pictures won’t “move” and though they still tell the story of the Gospel, the appeal might not remain the same if the plastic piece goes missing.  But honestly, the WOW factor in the beginning is enough to entice one to read the whole booklet, and God can use even one reading of it, so…still like these!}}

SO –have you gotten the idea that I like these products?  Yup, I do!  I would definitely suggest this Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools Sampler Pack if you are unsure about which of the tools you would like to utilize in your ministry or daily life.  Those animated tracts are surely different and neat!  After you have these in your hands, your mind will be filled with ideas of who to share them with.  These are sturdy, quality products, and as such I would recommend them.

If you’d like to see what other people have to say about these products, please click on the link below!

Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools {Let the Little Children Come Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Sunday, October 29, 2017

G is for grape jelly! :)

Yummmmmmm grape jelly. . .We have been blessed with friends who grow grapes and allow us to pick some of them!  Grape jelly is so easy to make -- have you ever tried it?  It's so easy, using either liquid pectin or powdered pectin, you just make the juice (we heat the grapes in a little water until they pop a little, then use a food mill to strain the juice and a teeny bit of pulp out from the skins and seeds) and then mix the pectin and sugar in, then can it.  Here's a great recipe from Kraft for using Sure Jell (the powder) -- I seem to get a firmer result using the powder than the liquid pectin.  Delicious, easy, and a gorgeous color!  Great to feed the family and to use for gifts!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Purity Education by Abby Ludvigson -- my REVIEW

Abby Ludvigson Sex by Design

Purity is a great topic that families might sometimes miss or skim around a little.  There are lots of great resources out there for Christian families--and I'm going to tell you about one of them!  I had the opportunity to review a purity program called "Sex by Design" by Abby Ludvigson.

Abby Ludvigson Sex by Design
This program or curriculum is a series of seven teaching videos by the host and author, Abby Ludvigson.  Each video is a separate workshop taught by Abby and is accompanied by a workbook for teens viewing the lessons.  There is also a parent guide which helps parents to "continue the conversation."

Each video is a workshop delivered by Abby to a live audience of (presumably) teenagers.  There is an intro to each video, most of which are personal statements by teenagers or adults.  The topics covered by each lesson are:

Plan Ahead: Living Pure in a Sex-Saturated Culture
Counting the Cost:  Every Decision Has a Price Tag
Dating:  Dating Relationships God's Way
Sex:  God's Purpose and Plan
Modesty:  God Cares What I Wear
Pornography: Its Deception & Steps to Get Out or Stay Out
Secondary Virginity: Running Back to God

Abby covers these topics from the viewpoint of Scripture.  She uses God's plan from the Bible to guide youth into making Godly choices and decisions--centered in standards set by Him.  She is very matter-of-fact, not overly silly or childish, and doesn't skirt the issues.  She is upbeat and encouraging, and explains her own testimony of how she is an example of purity for other youth to follow.

There is just too much content for me to really give you a good taste of it, but some snippets -- she talks about what the costs of sex are--they physical, the emotional, and the spiritual.  She encourages youth to go to God for answers, not to the culture.   She helps teens to know how they can apply what they have learned in these videos to their lives today.  She helps them make a plan, before it is needed.  She speaks to guys as well as to girls about modesty.  She also teaches those who have not taken God's way previously that God can free them from their past --"He will make something beautiful from your mess."

The workbook for teens has a message from Abby for each chapter, followed by a guided note-taking format to be used to take notes on the message more easily.  There are Scripture references and more helpful notes at the end, with the final segment a follow-up -- discuss, personalize, and apply!

The parent book is similar, more lengthy, more ideas for parents to infiltrate these themes into their family members' lives.  She gives a 3 levels of learning explanation "The first level provides you with discussion questions to get the two of you talking about what you just learned.  The second level included questions and/or activities to help your teen take the topic from head knowledge to heart conviction (Bible studies, Scripture memory, etc.) The third level includes activities to help your teen take what they've internalized and apply it to their everyday life."

I have two children (a girl and a boy) in high school and one (a girl) in junior high.  They are watching these together (so far).  I had wondered what other folks were doing in this area--separately or together.  I think there are lots of different ways to use this resource, but at this time they are viewing together with a bit of discussion.  Further discussion seems to follow further thought :) I honestly even think that these would be good for a youth group (though my kids didn't think that was a good idea! oh well.)

This is a very valuable resource.  Sometimes I think that if our teens hear a message from us often, it kind of turns into a thought of maybe that's just our family's way of doing things.  Hearing it reinforced from another adult (and presumably lots of others, since it is a video talking to people from all over) really pushes the point that this is God's standards and values, as shown in Scripture, not just something that mom and dad have come up with. 

My kids (especially my youngest) didn't like the title (Sex By Design), haha.  It is an eye-catching title, I guess!  It really is a purity curriculum, teaching youth about their own personal purity.  It's not a sex-education course by any means.  It is a PURITY education course.  It doesn't gloss over sex or sexual things, (my daughter said, "Whoa, she really just talks about EVERYTHING!")  Some of the topics were ones they were familiar with, some were unfamiliar.  All in all, I think it is a very beneficial resource for parents to utilize.  I would definitely recommend it.

To hear what other families have to say about this product, please click here:

Sex by Design {Abby Ludvigson Review}

Crew Disclaimer

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Rummage Sales?

I LOVE rummage sales.  Well, I don't really love them, but I do enjoy clothing my family for 25 cents an item!  It's kind of a pain, yes, to go through piles and piles of used clothing (trying not to be icked-out about it!), looking for items that might possibly fit the kids, husband, or myself. It's a pain, but so well worth it!  So often we can find things that were originally very pricey, but now (gently used) can be enjoyed for a quarter! 

I also find lots of great fabric for different projects, including my felted wool mittens.  I DO have some standards as to what we purchase. . .has to be something that can be cleaned in washing machine or dishwasher...and some things are just not even considered. 

How about you ?  Do you participate in clothing recycling like this?  Or are you purely a buy-at-the-store-brand-new person? 

***true confession...if we had the money to dress in brand new stuff we probably would...rummage sales are not that fun, haha :)  BUT this appears to be one of the ways that God provides for our family, and for that I am thankful. :) :) :) 

October beauty

Saturday, October 14, 2017

A picture of a highschool mom's frequent view

Homeschooling high school students in a semi-rural area means a lot of driving for me.  Lots of waiting. Lots of time spent in the car. We live a ways away from the city, so I'm often there, sitting and waiting in the car (unless it's crazy cold!)

Sometimes I'm tempted to get frustrated with all this car time, but I'm reminded that it's really just a short phase in our lives, another step in raising up responsible adults :) so I thank God for the opportunities that He provides, and relish the time spent together, and the great conversations to be enjoyed during the driving times.

Friday, October 13, 2017

The LifeGiving Table by Sally Clarkson -- my REVIEW

We probably all long for the peaceful, lighthearted, inviting meal pictured on the front of this lovely book, The LifeGiving Table by Sally Clarkson.  Am I right?  I look at that and just feel like that's a dinner that I would like to be invited to!

Sally Clarkson's lovely book gives you that same feeling, a longing to have a table-life like she and her family do.  The subtitle of the book is, "Nurturing faith through feasting, one meal at a time."  

Throughout the book, the author describes how she has utilized mealtimes (and snack/tea times) as opportunities for sharing her life, wisdom, and faith with others.  She shares abundantly with her family and children as well as with others she comes into contact with.  

One of the purposes of this book is to encourage the readers to use meals/mealtimes as opportunities for service.  Serving others through offering food, conversation, encouragement, and more.  There are practical tips for how to make a welcoming space and a welcoming attitude.  There are illustrations of how meals have been used in different settings.  Family traditions are explained.  Ways of encouraging others are laid out.  Delicious-sounding recipes are included!

I enjoyed this book, in a "wishing that were my case" way.  I'm not sure if I can quite explain how I felt reading it, it was kind of a fairy tale of a book for me.  I don't mean to say that I thought it wasn't true, no, not at all...I know that people DO live like that.  I applaud her service and sharing her life and the Gospel through her hospitality.  It is just hard for me to imagine how I could live up to this ideal.  One thing is that I think it helps if both husband and wife want to serve in this way. Otherwise, it is . . .difficult.  I also felt like we maybe don't measure up to her standards.  I do know that I can serve through meals, but my meals and setting would be different. My days are filled with homeschooling, loving, and growing my three teenagers into Christ-following, God-fearing, kind, responsible adults. I think maybe we (my family) just aren't up to her economic level, but truthfully that doesn't matter so much.  We do what we are called to do, we live as we are called to live.  As I read this, I needed the reminder from Scripture, " Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have..." Hebrews 13:5a (KJV)  But I think that her portrayal is beautiful, and brings out a longing in me.  Even though I wouldn't do things exactly the same way, I can be inspired by her life and live for Christ through mine.  

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 


So much beauty (and work!!) in this season . . .

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Adored -- my REVIEW

Adored (365 Devotions for Young Women) is a devotional book by Lindsay A Franklin, written for girls ages 13 and up.  This book is designed to allow young women to spend time thinking about a verse each day, as well as learning more about God's love for them and how that plays out in everyday life.  

Each day's page begins with a Bible verse, followed by a short writing about the verse and how it relates to God's love for each of us.  There are entries about why you are special and how you are loved, as well as others about the characteristics of God and how He wants his people to live their lives.  
At the end of each page is three or four lines for readers to respond with their thoughts.

So...my thoughts on the book?  It's pretty :) I like the cover art as well as the page borders.  I think it's a little short and kind of light for a teenage girl, but maybe she could use it as a part of a regular time spend in reading the Bible and praying.  I really like the idea of the lines at the bottom of the pages for a response, but I think it would've been better to give a little writing prompt of some sort (at least that's what helps my daughters to write, usually.)  So basically, I thought it was okay, but with the plethora of devotionals out there for teenage girls, this one probably wouldn't be my first choice.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

365 Devotions for Living Joyfully by Victoria York -- my REVIEW

It's no surprise to you that we live in a rather dark world.  News events and other happenings are hard, violent, stressful, scary.  It is easy to forget that we have a Savior who is in charge of our lives and our destiny.  Many times in the Bible we are reminded to trust God, cast our cares on Him, and etc. yet how many of us find ourselves worrying, pessimistic, and just plain stressed?  

Reading the Bible daily is a discipline that feeds your soul, and this book would make a great addition to your daily time with God.  365 Devotions for Living Joyfully is a book by Victoria York which gives daily meditations based on Scripture aimed at reminding us of the hope and joy that we can experience through Christ and His work in our daily lives.  

The book is organized with one page of reading per day, and it's dated, so you can read the reading for the "correct" day :)  Each day begins with a Bible verse, followed by a thoughtful narrative which will return your thoughts to the hope and joy that you have within reach.  The last sentence is a suggest response or prayer to God following the reading.  I won't suggest that this book would take the place of regular time spent reading the Bible, but it is a very easy-to-read little book that will remind you to find the joy that you can have to enhance your life.

The book is a cute little book, bright yellow with a bicycle on the front (and inner covers). There is a little ribbon bookmark to save your place, and the end of the book features a Scripture index which will allow you to see where specific Bible verses are referenced.

I think this is a valuable book for you, and would also make a great little gift to give!  It's pretty and bright, and it IS an important topic, especially in this day and age, when we could easily sink into thoughts of despair.  Buy a few, keep one for yourself, and give some as gifts!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

Monday, October 2, 2017

My new favorite hair accessory -- Lilla Rose Flexi-clip -- my REVIEW

So, I will preface this review by saying that I am not really a type of person who likes to wear super-fancy things or styles, and truthfully -- the easier the better!  :)  I was introduced to the Lilla Rose Flexi Clip  and oh my word...I LOVE THESE THINGS!!!!!!!  

So, what are they?  Well, these little decorative clips are a one-piece thing that you can use to put your hair up easily and prettily.  Check this out:

Do you see (above) that there is a figure-8 section and a stick-like section?  The figure-8 section is flexible and you kind of place it over your cluster of hair (form a pony-tail with your fingers or else a partial one if you just want part of your hair up).  You put the main body over that and slide the stick part through so that it extends into the other end of the "8".  There are little ridges on the stick (see the picture below) that keep it from sliding in or out too far.

Does that make sense?  Here are some pictures with my finger to show you how it works ( I know, weird with the finger, but it does make it more visible!) 

There are many sizes of these clips, as well.  The website easily shows how to measure your hair for the optimal sized clip.  We ordered one to fit my (regular) hair as well as one for my daughter's crazy-thick and curly hair.  Mine was a small, and hers was a large.  

We were amazed at how well it held her hair!


So, they look awesome, how easy are they to use?  Well, I will say that there is a little learning curve, getting used to the feel of putting it in, but once you've done it a few times, it is very easy!  You can put your hair up in a flash!  

The quality of these flexi-clips  seems to be great as well!  They are very pretty (so many styles!  look at them all!)  The price...looks pretty pricey, right?  If I had not used this clip I would never have thought of spending money like that on a hair clip, but now that I've been using one for a month, I LOVE THEM and have just ordered several for all my nieces for Christmas, my sister, and also another one for myself.  I think that although they are pricey, they are a great value.

I've been wearing my flexi clip for a month now, popping it in my pocket when I think I might need to put my hair up, and then using it to make a quick ponytail or put my hair up partially.  My daughter, as well, loves hers.  We have been telling everyone about them!  

So--YES!  I definitely recommend this product, these flexi-clips by Lilla Rose.  Look on their website for some other great-looking products as well!  

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this bookproduct for free for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

My pizza dough trick :)

Do you make your own pizza dough?  Do you ever get frustrated because when you try to spread it out in your pan it just springs back so it's not in the nice shape that you wanted it?  Well, here's my amazing trick :)  Well, maybe not so amazing, but good advice nevertheless.  When you first lay it out on the greased pan, go ahead and spread it out a little (like the dough on the left).

Then... (here's the magic part!!)

Let it sit for 2 minutes or so...

                       ...then spread it out...

                                                  ...and voila!  It amazingly spreads out nicely to fit
                                                      your desired size/shape!

Now go and make some delicious pizza without frustration!  :)