And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. Isaiah 54:13 KJV

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Get in Deep

Every once in awhile I pick up a book and suddenly feel like I should be getting college credit just for reading it. Don't Miss the Boat by Paul Taylor published by Master Books is one of those books. Evidently my brain has been lulled into complacency by all the kids books I read. "Facts to keep Your Faith Afloat" sounded simple enough but from the beginning this book is thick and heavy with information about Genesis. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a bad thing! It is in fact FANTASTIC to have all this information at my fingertips but I want you to know that this is a book that will take some time to digest.

Taylor has done extensive research on the Bible and on scientific evidence from the Flood. This is the grown up version of all those Noah Justice DVDs that we love so much! All of this information is broken down into 5 sections with 17 chapters. The sections include: exposition, history, science, fiction, and exposition. The fiction section includes 4 short stories to give an idea of how Taylor feels some of the people may have felt during that period. They are fictional and are intended to be read as such. The remainder of the book is a compilation of textbook quality facts, pictures, charts, and more.

This book is a must have for any adult wanting to delve deep into the available information about the Flood and the impact it has had on Earth. I'd also encourage anyone that is open to sharing their faith to spend some time in this book. So often unbelievers use "science" to refute the Bible, it is important that we have scientific information to back up our beliefs. Not only is this information helpful in explaining faith but it is interesting too. And as a homeschool mom this gives me some fantastic extra info to share with my kids as we study!

Check out a special preview of Don't Miss the Boat.

I received a free copy of this book from Master Books for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

So Easy

I LOVE things that make my life easier. I can't even explain how busy we have been lately. Stretched thin doesn't even come close to describing it! I'm actually thinking the holidays will be a CALMER season for us. How crazy is that?!?!? So we are streamlining everywhere we can. Thankfully Purex brought me a new product just in time! I am reviewing this product that I received for free as a Purex Insider. All opinions are my own.

Purex Ultrapacks have been around for awhile now. Purex is upping the game by including Oxi to fight stains. These easy laundry pods shave a little time off of each load of laundry. When I use these I don't have to measure any detergent, I just throw on detergent capsule in each load and it's ready to go. I try to do about 2 loads a laundry each day so it's important to save as much time there as I can.

Not only are the Purex Ultrapacks plus Oxi pods easy but the concentrated formula and Zout stain removers ensure my laundry is fresh, clean, and stain free. It works great and leaves my laundry smelling terrific. I'd suggest these to anyone who wants a great laundry detergent at a low price. As with all detergent pods, keep these out of the reach of small children. 
 Using them is a lot easier than opening the bag!

Purex is hosting a sweepstakes to celebrate the release of Purex Ultrapacks plus Oxi. Play Find the Red Jersey and Win for your chance to be one of 10 $50 winners! Your hint is: drop it and go. 

You also have the chance to win a free pack of Ultrapacks right here! Use the simple Giveaway Tools widget for your chance to win 1 of 3 coupons for a free pack. 

Google The Purex brand provided me with a sample of this Purex Ultrapacks plus Oxi in exchange for a product review. However, all opinions expressed here are my own.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Finished Product

I told you about Makit Make a Plate kits back in August. I'm excited to share our personal experience with Makit now that our final products are here!

First we received a free Make a Plate kit (due to my US Family Blogger status and for the purpose of review). The kit included a marker pack, several blank plate templates, and an order form with instructions. I can't tell you how EXCITED Apple & Speedy were about this project. This was one of the few times that I got them to work together on a project without bickering.

They were almost as excited about the new markers as they were about the plates. Silly kids.

My artist hard at work.

Making Christmas presents ahead of time!

Speedy may not be super crafty but he did a terrific job on these!

They each put their artwork on each template.

We were making 3 plates. I put a little something on each one too.

He's really excited about making plates! We almost couldn't wait to see how they would turn out!

After coloring the template, you simply stick them in the provided mailer with the order form and send them out. I did have to pay a little shipping but it wasn't very much.

A few weeks later our finished products arrived!

They can't wait to wrap them up as gifts. I'm not telling who will receive these special plates yet. :) 

The plates are a sturdy melamine that will display easily. We like the plates. I'm not sure how many of these we would order if we were paying for them. The artwork on the plate is great but $17.99 plus shipping for the first plate (additional plates are discounted) seems a little high for a melamine plate. I would be more impressed if they were ceramic but I know the melamine is probably easier for an image transfer.

If you think these plates are awesome you can order your own set here: MakIt offers other products like photo plates and mugs too. Click the first link in this post to go to my original blogpost for a discount!

I received 3 free MakIt plates in exchange for review. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

What Can You Do?

Sometimes it is hard to relate sermons or Biblical truths to kids. Their little lives are so different and often they don't see how they can be useful for God. Everybody Can Help Somebody by Ron Hall and Denver Moore is a true story that can open the eyes of children to ways they can help somebody! It exudes the message that everyone can in fact serve God by serving others.

I love this book. It is heart tugging and heart warming. I love that it tells of a life that is so different from anything my children have seen. They complain (some days) about homeschool but they can't imagine not having the opportunity to learn. They also can't imagine working so long and so hard for something as Denver does for his bicycle. I really appreciate a book like this that can give them such a new perspective.

We do try to give our kids real life opportunities to help others. Sometimes it can be something as simple as picking up an item someone else drops. Other times it is holding the door for someone or running an errand for a family member. My hubby is terrific at taking them to visit friends that live alone or are in nursing homes. I hope this book will inspire you to find ways to help others as a family. You never know what impact even a simple gesture might have on someone else's life. 

Would you like to win a copy of Everybody Can Help Somebody? Enter via the easy Giveaway Tools Widget.
See a special sneak peek Flipbook!

I received a free copy of this book as a Tommy Mommy for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

UseFUL Trivia for Kids

I always call Hubby the fount of useless knowledge. That man can tell you a little bit about anything. Apple is quickly following in his footsteps. The girl loves to read books like the Guiness Book of World Records and similar trivia filled books. When I saw The One Year Book of Bible Trivia for Kids I knew she would love it and she does! One year....pfffft. She's about 1/3 of the way through already.

Now this is some trivia that I don't think is useless! Each day is one short page (great for short attention spans!) and includes a Bible story, a multiple choice questions, and a "For You" section to get the reader thinking. This is a great way to get your child thinking a little deeper into Bible stories. Like January 21st's entry is entitled "What Will You Give Up for God?". It includes the story of Abraham taking Isaac up to be a sacrifice. Then it asks the reader what they are willing to give up for God. It's a great short snippet to keep kids thinking. Apple is zooming through it but I can see Speedy using it as a daily devotional in a couple of years. The potential for growth is endless.

The write Katrina Cassel also wrote The Christian Girl's Guide to the Bible which Apple is using as her school time Devo. I'd say Cassel has a great handle on how to get the attention of a child and how to reach them with real information about the Bible and a relationship with God. I'm thankful to have these 2 resources available for my recently baptized beauty. 

I received this book from Tyndale for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

Reeling in the Emotions

How often do you feel like your dirty laundry list of bad behaviors is just piling up and piling up? Now how often do you feel like you have tangible solutions to help you overcome those behaviors? Right....almost never. Me too. I've read so many Christian books about parenting, marriage, and daily living that help me identify all the areas where I am lacking but very few of them give advice to overcome those behaviors. I need more than scripture, I need more than extra prayer time, I need more than a study group. All of those are FANTASTIC resources and certainly helpful but sometimes I just need more. Lysa TerKeurst gives more. I put the cart before the horse here and read the Unglued Devotional awhile back. It was great. Guess what's even better? The book Unglued. For reals.

Reading this book is like talking to a good friend. An open, honest friend who is laying it all out on the table. In fact I've been able to have some terrific conversations with some friends who are reading through this book too. I haven't spoken to anyone yet that isn't LOVING this book. So let me give you the low down. Do you ever just come apart? Do you ever have a moment where your emotions are controlling you rather than you controlling your emotions? We all do, right? Do you feel good about it afterwards? I sure don't. TerKeurst identifies 4 ways we deal with things: exploders who blame, exploders who shame, stuffers who build barriers, and stuffers who collect retaliation rocks. As you can probably tell from the titles, none of these are positive ways to deal with conflict. Join Lysa's journey of imperfect progress. See if you can make your own imperfect progress. Check out her formulas and plans of action to see if they can help you as much as I feel like they will help me.

Really this couldn't have come at a better time for me. My stress level has been OFF THE CHARTS for the last few months. I'm having a hard time just functioning. I like to keep things together and lately I just can't. I've got too much going on. Life is busy and messy and my year's motto of avoiding "TOO MUCH" just doesn't seem to be working. It's all too much and all we can do is keep praying and pushing through. Of course I'm stuffing and exploding all over the place. I don't like it and I don't like myself. I'm tired and I want to handle things the right way, not make them worse. I appreciate God bringing me the blessing of this book at such a time as this. I recommend Unglued wholeheartedly to every woman-young, old, married, single.

I received a free copy of this book for the purpose of review from Booksneeze. All opinions are my own and I want not required to write a positive review.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Smell the Apples

I always seem to catch the latest Cindy Woodsmall series on the last book. This time I started with For Every Season the third book in the Amish Vines and Orchards series. It reminded me very much of Harvest of Grace (ahem another Woodsmall series that I began on number three). In this one, the book focuses on a group of young Amish people beginning a community and rebuilding an orchard. I found myself easily drawn into the orchard with Rhoda, Samuel, Leah, Jacob, and the others.

This book is a little different than most Amish fictions. Several of the characters have stepped outside of the bounds of the Old Order and since they are beginning a new community they aren't as concerned with the authority of Amish leaders. The book takes a different approach with Rhoda's intuitions, Jacob's troubles with the law, and Leah's romantic interest in an Englischer. It was no real problem beginning on book 3 although I'm eager to go back and read number 1 and 2 in the series now. 

Rhoda and Jacob are struggling to make their relationship work. How will they ever get over her kiss with his brother? How can they all work together to make the orchard fruitful? The twists and turns of these problems as well as the ones faced by the other characters will keep you turning the pages. Woodsmall certainly kept me guessing until the very end. The steady addition of new characters kept me off track and I wasn't sure what was going to happen.

If you enjoy an easy fiction read or you like Amish fiction then I think you will be pleased with this book. For Every Season is a light and interesting read. Perfect for reading for relaxation!

I received a free copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Noise With Dirt

Perhaps you've seen one of the super cute items on Pinterest that proclaims a boy is noise with dirt on it. I always giggle. Speedy is super clean (but generally sweaty) but the concept is true for him. He's a constant blur of motion generally accompanied by any number of sounds (swish, brrrrr, vroooom, ka-chow!). He is so opposite of Apple that I generally just marvel at them. He has recently found his niche in baseball and he loves it. I'm a football kind of girl myself but I'm adjusting my outlook from what I wanted for him to what he is best suited to do. {Not that sports are the be-all end-all of his future but a part of it ya know.}

So I've reviewed many books about parenting girls. Honestly Apple remains an ever changing mystery so I just keep reading. ;) I haven't read nearly as many parenting books on boys. Parenting Speedy is no less important so I was excited to receive Raising Boys by Design by Gregory L. Jantz, PhD and Michael Gurian with Ann McMurray. The tagline reads "What the Bible and brain science reveal about what your son needs to thrive." Awesome! I was surprised to find out one of the authors is Jewish but he focuses his information on "God-given design" and "nature-based theory." The book is split into 2 sections and 12 chapters. The first section explores the way boys are designed and the second section gives advice for putting that information into play as you parent your boy.

This book has already opened up some great conversation in my life. First I've been discussing the concepts and research with my husband. Beyond that I've had conversations with friends that are also parenting boys. I've been interested to hear their take on some of the information presented. So far we are all in agreement with the book! Boys need to move, boys tend to focus on one main item at a time (and not as much on the big picture or related things), and boys need to be nurtured differently than girls. Amen to all of that! I appreciate that the authors realize a typical classroom setting just isn't feasible for most boys. I started studying ADD and Ritalin while I was in college. I was shocked then to find how often it was overprescribed and that was 15 years ago! This is an epidemic in our country and a sad one. I want more parents to have more information before they agree to an ADHD diagonsis for their child. I want parents to research alternatives to medication. 

I love the tips in the book about getting a diagnosis for your child (for a brain disorder such as ADHD or ADD). There were two I found MOST important are the diagnosis should come from a SPECIALIST that does a neuropsych battery (tests that take HOURS not minutes). If you are talking about a braid disorder it should be a child psychiatrist or psychologist- not a school nurse, counselor, or even a pediatrician. The other is that except in EXTREME (read RARE) cases a child should not be diagnosed with a brain disorder BEFORE THE AGE OF 7. 7 years old. When my child was in pre-k in the local school system at least 3 children in her class were referred by the teacher and subsequently "diagnosed" as ADHD. These were 4 year olds. It is highly unlikely that they were properly diagnosed. My child was not one of them but had I not gotten her out of that class she very well may have been the 4th referral.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book. I think it's essential that we research as we parent. Our first source should always be the Bible and secondary research should be Biblical based books such as Raising Boys by Design. You can read Chapter 1 here. Available September 17, 2013.

I was provided a free copy of this book by Waterbrook Multnomah for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.