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

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Moms Do You Need a Laugh and Some Encouragement?

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


I've told you about the Moms' Night Out movie and the Moms' Night Out book, now let me introduce you to the Moms' Night Out Devotional. Kerri Pomarolli is hilarious and she brings that clean humor to Moms' Night Out and Other Things I Miss.....Devotions to Help You Survive. While this devotional was inspired by the movie, this is fresh, new material that you will not see anywhere else.









Not only is she funny, y'all she gets it. She understands where we are in these trenches of motherhood. She knows the down and dirty truth of the day to day of being a mommy. She doesn't just come to heckle and make fun though, she knows that we are tired and dirty but that we LOVE being moms. Pomarolli knows it is worth it. She brings us this devotional to make us laugh at the moment and refresh ourselves with God's word so we can make it through the next day...or moment. I must admit I am gobbling up these pages several entries at a time.

Each entry starts with a story (most hilarious, a few serious) and a Bible verse. Then she gives you a couple of questions to think about. The entries end in a prayer. Scattered throughout the book are some very funny lists like "The Top 10 Worst Texts to Send Your Wife on Moms' Night Out". You will laugh while you read this devotional. A lot. You will want to share it with all of your mommy friends. You will also feel relaxed and covered in God's word. You won't feel any condemnation. Amen.



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




The Real Struggles

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

The real life of stay at home moms must be mysterious to other people. In fact some people seem shocked and outraged at the idea that stay at home moms even exist much less are happy with their lives. I can assure you we do exist and in large numbers. We aren't all members of cults and we aren't all hoarding weapons. We're normal people. Normal families called to cherish the short span of time our children will be children. We want to raise and nourish our kids instead of paying someone else to do it. We've been blessed to be able to stay at home. We don't take that for granted (most days). We're also tired, overworked (because trust me raising kids 24/7 is WORK), and a little crazy.


I haven't seen the movie Moms' Night Out YET but I hope to very soon. I told you a little about the movie and gave you a clip on this post. Now I'm so excited to tell you about the book Moms' Night Out from Tricia Goyer. She actually took this movie and turned it into a book. How's that for different?



Y'all this book is hilarious. It is the wacky and really crazy tale of some moms trying to have a peaceful night away from the kids. They are a eclectic group of ladies- Allyson the stay at home mom that's at her wit's end, Izzy the one that just got life changing news, and Sondra the pastor's wife. These ladies are all so easy to relate to. Their thoughts and personal dilemmas make perfect sense. Throw in Bridgett a single mom, a cabbie, and a biker named Bones and the evening takes an interesting turn. Don't worry you also get the story of the dads as they wrangle the kids without the moms. 

The book is fast paced and holds lots of laughs. Some of it is a little over the top but hey that's what fiction movies are all about! Moms Night Out has more than enough real mom reality in it. If you need a break from your own Mom reality I totally recommend this book. Tricia Goyer brings her well loved writing style to the mom movie of the year. 

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


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Calling all Cooks


Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.


In order to make a really good meal you need fresh ingredients, a stellar recipe or idea, great appliances, and amazing cookware. Nothing is more frustrating than ruining a meal with cookware that sticks or doesn't cook evenly. I get fairly particular about my pans and which ones I will use to cook which items. Let me tell you about the newest pan I am trying- the Ozeri Green Earth Textured Ceramic Nonstick Frying Pan.


This 10" pan is a very attractive bright green with a comfortable handle. It is a good weight too- heavy but not uncontrollable. Because of the ceramic coating, this pan is super easy to clean. Everything just washes right off. Let me give you the information about the special GREBLON coating straight from Ozeri:

Utilizing GREBLON -- an ultra-safe ceramic coating from Germany, the Green Earth Pan by Ozeri is one of the world's first frying pans to achieve non-stick perfection while remaining absolutely free of PTFE, PFOA and other harmful chemicals. Conventional cookware and other ceramic cookware brands achieve their non-stick performance through a coating of PTFE (PolyTetraFluoroEthylene), a synthetic substance that has waxy properties. At very high temperatures, PTFE begins to decompose and release fumes which are documented to be lethal to birds and small pets, and which can be harmful to humans. In addition, traditional pans incorporating PTFE are often manufactured with the aid of PFOA (PerFluoroOctanoic Acid), which the EPA has classified as a 'persistent pollutant of the environment'. With the Green Earth Pan's GREBLON ceramic from Germany, even under high temperatures, no harmful toxic fumes are ever released into the environment. This is because the Green Earth Pan utilizes a 100% ceramic coating inspired by nature - not a laboratory. The Green Earth Pan's ceramic coating is completely free of PTFE and PFOA, and far more durable and scratch-resistant than other non-stick surfaces. With better non-stick properties, the Green Earth Pan allows you to saute, fry, bake, boil and braise with as little as half the amount of oil normally used, and cleaning is a breeze. The Green Earth Pan by Ozeri is made of the highest quality die-cast aluminum that allows for even cooking and fantastic browning without hot spots. It boasts a magnetized bottom for rapid heat transfer on induction stoves, and a heat resistant silicone coated handle. This version of the Green Earth Pan features a textured ceramic cooking surface. The elevations of the textured cooking surface create air pockets which distribute heat underneath food to enhance cooking performance. Your satisfaction is guaranteed. GREBLON ceramic made by Weilburger GmbH, Germany. Final assembly in China.



The textured surface coated with Greblon ensures your food won't stick. 


This special base will give you an even temperature on the pan surface. 


I believe Ozeri thought of everything. They even include a Pan Protector to keep the surface scratch free.


We needed an easy meal the other night so in the pan went some sauerkraut.


It was topped with hot dogs. We ended up with a tasty well cooked meal that was quick and cleaned up in a snap.

I've also already tried bacon in the pan. Y'all know bacon is a staple and no one wants to ruin any of the expensive meat. Bacon cooked up crisp and even. YUM! 

The Ozeri Green Earth Nonstick Textured Ceramic Pan is available from Amazon and shipping is free for Prime members!



I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Summer Plans

I see a lot of bloggers and friends detailing their summer plans. Some are making lists, others have whole calendars planned out, and I've even seen at least one with a basket of items to pick from each day. I have to laugh a little. I'm am so over the top with organizing and planning school, cleaning, etc but summers are just different for me.

I try to put the kids in 1 camp each during the summer. At this point Apple has one on the calendar. Speedy does not because we've had trouble finding the kind of camp he wants at a reasonable cost on a week he could participate. He may or may not get to do a camp this year because of that.

The kids want to spend time with their friends this summer, especially those in public school that they only get to see a limited amount of time in the fall and spring. We will go to my aunt's pool as often as possible. In summers past we've tried to go at least once a week.

I have a short list of school things I would like the kids to work on this summer and we usually do the summer reading program at the library. We always work on learning or improving chores over break as well.

Y'all that's it. I don't want to over schedule their summer. I want them to enjoy some free time. I want them to read and play and enjoy the sun. Summers are magical all on their own. They get to stay up a little later because the days are longer. They get to laugh with friends and family and they get to see Mom not be AS tied to a schedule or calendar.

I love summer!

Educents Deals Just Got Even Better

Contains Affiliate links.


I told you just last night about the great Life of Fred deal going on right now on Educents. Find out about that deal here. Today I have to tell you that ALL the Educents deals just got sweeter.

The next 3 days only (May 23-May 26) get 10% off and FREE SHIPPING! Simply use the code "CHAOS10FREE".


Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Cheerleader Journalist is on the Scene

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. 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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”





Yesterday I told you about the first book in a new Faithgirlz series. You can read what I thought about Samantha Sanderson At the Movies. Today let me tell you about the second book Samantha Sanderson On the Scene from Robin Carroll. In this second installment, the main character Sam continues her sleuthing. This time her case involves some anonymous bullying happening to a fellow journalist.

Apple enjoyed this book as well. This series contains a hint of mystery which is one of Apple's favorite genres. The main characters are very girly and Sam's dad is a detective which helps Apple relate to her since her dad is in law enforcement too. Again Sam's best friend Makayla helps with the technological sleuthing measures.

On the Scene didn't include the out of this world long resumes of Sam's fellow students so I found it more believable. Some of the students are facing very real personal situations (parents divorcing, sports injuries, etc) and bullying is addressed but all in all this is still a fairly light read. Tweens are sure to be engaged by the story of Samantha helping a girl who isn't all that kind to her.

I'm looking forward to future books in this series!

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

A BIG Life of Fred Deal

Contains affiliate links.





I have a kid that doesn't care too much for math. We love Math U See and have been using it almost the entire time we have been homeschooling. Despite the love of MUS, one of my children struggles in math. A couple of years ago we really hit the math wall. We were miserable. I started researching various math resources. I wasn't ready to let go of MUS because I knew it was working but I needed something to entice my little reader into enjoying math more. Enter Life of Fred. Seriously Life of Fred is AMAZING.

Each book continues the story of Fred, a 5 year old math professor at KITTENS University. These stories are silly, fun, intriguing, and TEACH MATH y'all. If you are looking for a way to show your child how math is used in real life, these fun fictional stories are your answer.



Life of Fred books are reusable (you don't write in them) and made to last with hardback covers. Each book can be finished at your child's own pace. Both of my kids love these books (the math lover and the math despiser). These books rarely ever go on sale. Trust me on this I have been looking for deals on them since we started using them as a secondary math (some families use this as their primary/ only math curriculum).

Educents has the entire Elementary set (from Apples to Jelly Beans) on sale for $150.99!!! That's a big discount! 


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Pioneering in the Present

I received this book free for the purpose of review.


I don't consider myself to be a "crafty" person. I know some very crafty people (hello friend that worked at a florist!) but I myself do not LOVE glitter...or paint...or mess. However when we broaden our view of crafts and arts, I do so love the craft of quilting, the art of gardening, the skill of canning fruits and vegetables. I do not quilt but I love that my talented friends do (if you are looking for some amazing quilts check out my friend at Kelbysews). I enjoy gardening and have my dad's green thumb (only for outdoor plants y'all) but I haven't been able to really get into it the last few years. I've canned jam before and found it to be a rewarding experience and canning is something I'd like to know more about.

I'm rambling here but I have 2 points. 1. We (my generation) NEED to learn these skills from the older generations so that these life skills will continue. 2. You are never too old to learn something new. I see a hopeful rise in the number of people buying food locally. I encourage you to check your local farmer's market any weekend to see it yourself. I also see a popularity rise in some of the other arts I mentioned. This is good! We should all be able to grow and make things. We never know what the future holds and someday those Golden Arches may not be around to feed us.



Modern Pioneering by Georgia Pellegrini includes more than 150 recipes, projects, and skills for a self-sufficient life. Now don't worry we aren't doomsday prepper homeschoolers (not that there's anything wrong with that). I just find manuals like these often have great ideas and recipes. Since most of the books I review are Christian in nature I want to disclose that this book is not. There are several recipes you may find here that I won't be using. Ahem. However this book does include much helpful information such as homemade seedling containers, how to properly wrap meat for the freezer, instructions for a 48 hour survival kit, and even how to change a tire (thankfully my dad taught me to do that a long time ago).

Now my husband said I didn't need this book because I'm practically a pioneer from play Oregon Trail American Settlers but I found some interesting recipes in here. I hope to try making homemade butter very soon. I wish less of the book was about alcohol infused recipes. That's a personal preference.

I will continue to study more about these arts. What is your favorite new thing you've learned recently?



I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.

The Cheerleader Journalist is on the Case

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. 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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Faithgirlz has another new series on the rise. Meet Samantha "Sam" Sanderson the daughter of a police detective and international journalist. Sam is a cheerleader and a writer for her middle school newspaper and blog. She and her BFF Makayla are on the case of a bomb found at a local movie theater in Samantha Sanderson At the Movies by Robin Carroll.  


Sam, Makayla, and all the other characters in the book are a bit too perfect with all of their extracurricular activities. In real life I'm sure Kevin wouldn't have time to be "the most popular guy in school, the star of the football team, president of the student council, captain of the debate team, and leader of the Alpha gifted program." While the characters may be a bit over the top, this is a fun read for the tween age. The mystery of who planted the bomb along with the suspicion that someone was trying to shut down the viewing of a Christian movie makes for a clean fiction. Apple always enjoys a good mystery and this was no exception.

As a mom, you know I prefer for Apple to read Christian fiction. With the Faithgirlz books, I know I don't have to worry about the content. I think this book has opened Apple's eyes to some of the real problems Christians face like court cases against displaying the Ten Commandments. I also love that the investigative process for a news article is really presented here. Sam has to interview and research for her daily bomb articles. She also calls on her friend for internet research. A good fiction read should always teach us a little something new.

Keep your eyes here for the review of the second book in this series Samantha Sanderson On the Scene.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Help Your Child Grow With Jesus

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

I love providing my children with devotionals to read. Even more so now that they are both reading well. Devotionals are such a wonderful way to incorporate Bible verses and messages into every day life. Both of my children read devos independently and then I also have them each go through a devotional as a part of our homeschool time. 

The latest devotional Speedy has been reading is 100 Devotions: Growing with Jesus by Andy Holmes. Each day includes a Bible verse, Thoughts to Grow On, a challenge for the day, and a fun fact. One of my favorite entries is "Don't Argue." It includes 2 Timothy 2:23, thoughts on why arguing isn't worth it, the challenge not to argue for the day, and a fun fact about ant colonies. These fun entries along with the bright illustrations are sure to entice your growing child. These are perfect for early readers or read alouds. 





If you are looking for a way to help your child's relationship with Jesus grow as they grow then take a look at Growing with Jesus. You can take a special sneak peek here. I have 1 copy to giveaway to one of you! Enter via the Giveaway Widget!




Entry-Form

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

Math by Reading

Contains affiliate links.


I have a kid that doesn't care too much for math. We love Math U See and have been using it almost the entire time we have been homeschooling. Despite the love of MUS, one of my children struggles in math. A couple of years ago we really hit the math wall. We were miserable. I started researching various math resources. I wasn't ready to let go of MUS because I knew it was working but I needed something to entice my little reader into enjoying math more. Enter Life of Fred. Seriously Life of Fred is AMAZING.

Each book continues the story of Fred, a 5 year old math professor at KITTENS University. These stories are silly, fun, intriguing, and TEACH MATH y'all. If you are looking for a way to show your child how math is used in real life, these fun fictional stories are your answer.



Life of Fred books are reusable (you don't write in them) and made to last with hardback covers. Each book can be finished at your child's own pace. Both of my kids love these books (the math lover and the math despiser). These books rarely ever go on sale. Trust me on this I have been looking for deals on them since we started using them as a secondary math (some families use this as their primary/ only math curriculum).

Educents has the intermediate set of Life of Fred books for 13% off until tomorrow!  This 3 book set is intended for 4th- 6th graders and is the pre-fraction set. This is an excellent deal!


Monday, May 19, 2014

Personalized Items at a Reasonable Price


Disclosure: I received Tolalu products in exchange for a post about the personalized gifts for kids. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Do your kids like personalized items? Something about seeing their own name on a product just really excited my kids. I have covered up their names since I only use their nicknames here on the blog but trust me that all 3 of these products have names under the orange cards.


I had told my kids that during our summer break we were going to get back on track with our chores. What a better way to get started then with a cute, reusable personalized chore chart. I picked a musical theme for Apple and a robot theme for Speedy.


These colorful charts are big and bright and easy to use with just a dry erase marker. Tolalu offers more than 30 choices you can personalize these chore charts with names and with some designs you can even add personal pictures. Speaking of items with pictures.....


The notebook I selected for Speedy includes the robot design with a sweet picture of him with a couple of buddies. It also has his name. He hasn't seen it yet because I'm saving it for his birthday but I know he is going to be thrilled with it. He is really getting into writing lately and this is a great incentive to keep him writing over the summer. Y'all he needs all the handwriting practice he can get! 

If you aren't in the market for chore charts or notebooks, Tolalu also offers personalized place mats, stickers, calendars, and much more! Most of their items fall in the under $10 category. Almost unheard of these days for a personalized item. The shipping time I experienced was a bit slow but the customer service was great. I had to contact them a couple of times and their response was very timely.

You can also connect with Tolalu on social media:


Disclosure: I received Tolalu products in exchange for a post about the personalized gifts for kids. All thoughts and opinions are my own.





Sunday, May 18, 2014

*Free* Noise Level Signs

Affiliate links included.

If you are a teacher or homeschool parent you know noise levels can quickly get out of hand. How about a *FREE* set of Noise Level Signs. These are absolutely free downloads and will give your students an easy visual on the acceptable noise level during any class activity.


This special offer ends in 1 day so get yours now from Educents. Take a moment to check out the other freebies and special deals while you are there.




Saturday, May 17, 2014

MOMS’ NIGHT OUT | No More “Frumpy Mommy” Challenge! ($200 Visa Card Giveaway!

USA Today best-selling author Tricia Goyer has written the novelization to the much-anticipated movie, Moms' Night Out. Don't miss this hilarious family comedy that celebrates real family life—where everything can go wrong and still turn out all right.

And, look for the companion devotional written by comedian Kerri PomarolliMoms' Night Out and Other Things I Miss: Devotions To Help You Survive.

Tricia and Kerri have teamed up for the "No More Frumpy Mommy" challenge.
Moms Night Out Tricia Goyer Kerri Pomarolli
Motherhood can sometimes seem like survival of the fittest. Every day brings its own troubles, and by the end of the day, you’re spent. Between school, soccer practice, cleaning, laundry, cooking dinner, putting away dishes, and keeping your kids from going at each others’ throats, the last thing on your mind is getting away for an evening. If that’s you, you’re invited to take part in Tricia and Kerri's No More Frumpy Mommy challenge.

Tricia and Kerri will choose 10 winners to receive a Fandango gift card to see Moms' Night Out, as well as copies of Moms' Night Out (the book) and Moms' Night Out and Other Things I Miss. One grand-prize winner will receive $200 to put toward her own moms' night out or her own moms' night out "ride" (getting her car detailed and cleaned).

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Organizing the Rainbow


Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.


So I told you yesterday all about the awesome Rainbow Bandz, today I want to tell you how we are keeping them organized. From the maker of Rainbow Bandz is the Rainbow Bandz Organization Box. This box is 14" X 8.5" X 1.875 ".



The box is similar to some fishing tackle boxes with its plastic dividers that can be moved and arranged to fit your needs. As you can see the box has lots of little compartments to keep all of your bracelet bands separated. We were able to put in some of all of the 9 colors that came with our Rainbow Bandz package along with all of the other bands Apple had left from other sets. 


There is one larger compartment to hold a bracelet loom but I am sad to report that ours did not fit. We tried rearranging the box several ways to no avail. However this Rainbow Bandz Organization box holds all the clips, hooks, and everything else Apple needs to craft bracelets, rings, and necklaces. The loom can easily be set on top of the box for storage. 

It is more than worth $9.99 for this box to keep those little rubber bands from exploding all over the house. This product is also eligible for free shipping if you are an Amazon Prime member. The box does not include any bandz or accessories.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Bullying is So Not Okay

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

Almost a year ago to the day. I wrote a rant about bullying. I gave you my thoughts on bullying, where it starts and how I thought we could best work to end it. I would love for you to read or re-read that post here before you read this post. Then you will have my perspective on bullying before I share today's book review with you.

A few weeks ago our teens and kids led our church service. One of the skits the teens did was a version of Not My Problem (you can watch a version of this skit here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JojKhxXZoBc). I think this skit is a great reflection of the way we have treated bullying in the past. It isn't the problem of the parents because it doesn't happen in front of them, it isn't the problem of the teachers because they are there to educate- not to handle social issues amongst students, and it isn't the problem of a student unless they are the bully or the victim. It is now more than evident that bullying is in fact now a problem for all of us. Children are killing themselves and others, social media has given a direct outlet for cyberbullying, even celebrities are now in on bullying teens (come on Rhianna, really?).



So I stick with my original statement that a top 10 list of ways to combat bullying isn't going to solve this HUGE problem. My solution was to return to the golden rule and that's one of the ways the characters in Nancy Rue's new book So Not Okay start to combat the issue at their school.

Tori is a typical sixth grader at Gold Country Middle School. She enjoys her life with her 2 friends Winnie and Ophelia, her dog Nestle, and average parents. As the story begins Tori's life has a red circle day. The mean girls at her school take aim at her and criticize her eyebrows. Tori is devastated but feels even worse when the group of girls turn on sweet spirited, meek Winnie. When a new girl named Ginger comes to the school, the "Wolf Pack" becomes even meaner. Poor Ginger doesn't stand a chance against them.

Will Tori ignore the problem as long as it doesn't affect her? How can Ginger get help if even the teachers seem to turn a blind eye? Everything changes when Tori's favorite teacher Mr. V assigns a big group project......

I attempted to do a video interview with Apple so you could hear her thoughts on the book straight from her but YouTube and my phone aren't getting along today. So here's a transcript of our discussion:


I am talking with Apple, age 9, about So Not Okay by Nancy Rue. What did you think about the book?

I liked it. I liked that it was talking about bullies.

Have you ever been in a situation when you felt like you were bullied or someone you knew was being bullied?

Not me but a friend of mine has told me about some mean girls at her school. It's gotten better for her now though.

Have you ever been in a situation when you felt like maybe you were bullying someone else?

Yea...my brother sometimes.

In the book there are several characters. Can you tell me which character you felt like you related with the most? 

I like Tori. I think I relate to her because she like tries to help a friend when nobody else will help her.

And even though you are homeschooled and the girls in this book go to public school, do you think you understood the situations?

Well yes because I go to music camp and I might encounter a similar situation there.


What do you think kids need to know about bullying?

That kids that bully most of the time they have people at home that aren't nice to them so they try to have power over others because they don't have power at home.

There will be more books in this Mean Girl Makeover Series. Will you be interested in reading them, are you excited about that?

Yes!

This was a long book (284 pages), did it take you a long time to read?

Longer than usual!

Last question, Tori likes to make lists like A, B, etc. What did you think about that?

I first thought of me because I always like to say 1 or 2!

That's what I thought. Well thank you for your time today!

You're welcome. 

So there's your "review" from a tween. 




I think this is a great fictional read for the tween age group. Mean girls do exist and they do tend to travel in packs. Tori and her friends stick together and follow some simple steps like the Golden Rule. I think girls need to read this book to see that bullying is unfortunately common but that it isn't impossible to overcome. If your girl has tendencies to bully, this book will give her a great perspective on the other side of the story. I asked Apple about bullying but really we are very blessed with her close knit group of friends. They are loving and kind to one another and I believe if they were faced with a bully they would stand up for one another.

This book is the first in the Mean Girl Makeover trilogy. I will be making sure Apple reads the next 2 books as well.

Now I have 1 copy to giveaway to a reader. Use the Giveaway Tools widget to enter for your chance to win. See a sneak peek of the book here.

I received a free copy of this book from Tommy Nelson. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Rainbow-o-Rama


Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Wow. Just wow! I received a HUGE package of Rainbow Bandz refill bands to review. Apple shrieked with thrill when she saw the package of 5400 bright, colorful bands. She got into make band bracelets, rings, and necklaces when she received 2 sets of bands and a loom for Christmas. While she's enjoyed the bands so many of them have snapped and broken including one of the the bands from a keychain she made for me. It's so disappointing for a child to spend time making a craft to only have it break. She recently started pricing refill bands as her stock was getting low.

Apple's spending money is very limited and she was frustrated that the average price was $3-$4 for about 100 bands. She knew 100 wouldn't make many bracelets. So receiving this HUGE package with 9 bags of 600 bands of each color was certainly thrilling. When she found they all contained a hook and clips, she was truly over the moon. I was the most excited over the lack of smell! Y'all know those latex bands have a strong rubber odor. These bands are silicone and scentless. Glory!

You get Red, Yellow, Green, Orange, White, Black, Purple, Pink, and Blue


The other huge pro to these Rainbow Bandz? They are thick. They aren't going to snap or break. The colorful bandz are still stretchy and easy to use but without fear of breaking. Out of all the bags I did not see a single broken band in any of them. That's huge since there were LOTS of broken circles in Apple's other sets. I also love that each bag is sorted by color. She loved the bright yellow and green colors! They are very eye catching. Speedy hasn't gotten into making these bracelets and jewelry but we know lots of boys that do. Right now this package is on sale for $24.98 at Amazon and if you are an Amazon Prime member you get free 2 day shipping! Don't miss out on this great price. These are recommended for children 6+ and will work with any looms.

About halfway through opening the bags I discovered they had resealable bottoms. Sigh. Great feature!





I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Get the Table Ready

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


When a book is described as "A Novel of Family Secrets and Heirloom Recipes" well...I just can't resist it! Hillary Manton Lodge has written A Table by the Window and described it in just that way. It certainly caught my attention! Juliette D'Alisa is a food writer from a family of restauranteurs and foodies. While she has a simple, enjoyable life she is lonely as the single girl and baby in her family. She likes her desirable job as a food writer but needs some excitement in her life. Her Grand-mere has just passed away and the loss is leaving Juliette to reevaluate things. Her faith seems strong (although usually just mentioned in passing) and she fights for her own identity in a family of strong personalities.



When Juliette's brother Nico comes to her with a proposal to open a restaurant together, she is hesitant. They've attempted this before and it ended badly. Should she risk another business arrangement with Nico? What about her job with the paper? Can she do both? At the same time she finds a mysterious photo among her grandmother's items that sends her on the trail of a family secret. As if all that weren't enough to keep her busy she's met a man from Memphis online. Can a relationship work for a lady in Portland and a man in Memphis?

I loved the mix of cultures in this book and of course the recipes scattered throughout. While many of the recipes are dishes that are likely above my talents and include ingredients I wouldn't be able to find in my area, I still love them all. I also enjoyed the blossoming that occurred within Juliette. She went from someone running the rut everyday because she had a good enough life to someone pushing and striving for the things that really made her happy. I have to tell you though that the pace of this story is very unrushed. Imagine eating a meal with family or a good friend and lingering around the table a long time to catch up. That's the pace of this story. I normally wouldn't enjoy a story that didn't move along at a fast pace but I did enjoy this one. It was done well.


You can find Lodge on Pinterest and read more about her. Here is a sneak Peek of Chapter 1 just for my lovely readers!

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

A Midwife for Unwed Girls

I received a free copy of this book for the purpose of review from Tyndale Blog Network.


The Midwife by Jolina Petersheim is the very unique story of the head midwife of a Mennonite home for pregnant girls. Rhoda Mammau efficiently runs Hopen Haus while maintaining emotional distance from the other midwives and their charges. The girls living at Hopen Haus come from various backgrounds and all are seeking refuge through their pregnancies. The book also chronicles the experiences of a young woman who becomes a surrogate for her professor/ boss and his wife. The story of Beth is one from years ago while the story of Rhoda is in the present. Petersheim also brings in a host of other characters from the pregnant girls to others working at Hopen Haus and even someone from Rhoda's past. One of the girls named Amelia becomes an important part of this story.


If this review comes across as vague it is just because I don't want to give anything away! This whole story is completely interwoven and almost every detail becomes important later in the book. These connecting stories moved fairly quickly with lots of details and several developed characters. I enjoyed the story line and the style of writing although I will say it was almost all too neatly connected in the end. I don't want to discourage your from reading this fiction at all because it is a pleasant read. Just know at the end you may shake your head a little as I did!

Because Hopen Haus is separate from any current Mennonite communities, the Plain lifestyle is represented and a definite piece of the story but not an overwhelming factor (if that even makes sense!). Petersheim's roots with the Pennsylvania Dutch community lends authenticity to her story. A quick look at her website shows that she has written another book called The Outcast which I hope to read soon. The Midwife was a perfect read on the beach during our recent vacation. You can preorder your copy now and the book will release on June 1, 2014. Hear more from the author herself:

 

I received a free copy of this book from the Tyndale Blog Network for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Vacation Prep

Are you taking a trip this summer? We are! Yay! We try to do a little something each summer but we haven't had a big, long vacation in several years so we are very excited. I have a few tips to make your vacation even more relaxing:

*Make a list of things you need to buy before you go. I like to pick up a few things in the weeks ahead of time (just one or two extras each shopping trip) and then to make one final trip to the store a few days before we depart to get anything else we've thought of. One thing that makes this easier is keeping a list AFTER each trip. You will think of things that you wish you had brought/ purchased/ done before the trip and if you keep a list it will help you on your next vacation.

*Pack snack bags. This goes along with the trip because you may need to buy some snacks and drinks for a cooler for the road trip. I also like to make each child a bag with their name on it and fill it with leftover candy from Easter, Valentine's Day, Christmas, Halloween.....surely that Halloween candy is still good right?

*Start packing suitcases about 4-5 days before you leave. This gives you time to wash all your laundry and again gives you time to add in things you may initially forget. I also start bags in the bathroom, kitchen, and if we are going to a warm, sunny destination I make a separate bag of swimwear and gear.

*In addition to their snack bags, I allow each child to pack an "entertainment" bag. They charge their electronic device (DS, Kindle, portable DVD player, whatever your kid enjoys) and then place it in their own backpack with notebook, pens, books, small toys, and their snack bag. This eliminates arguing, boredom, and begging for snacks at every stop. I've told you before we LOVE audio books so we take some of those along as well.

*Speaking of audio books, we borrowed some from a friend this time. Never hesitate to ask friends to borrow items. I'd rather borrow from a friend and replace if there is an issue than to worry about losing library books (we return them all before we go) or buying everything new. Awesome friend also lent us a wagon that folds up just for the beach. Woohoo! That's a huge savings for us, will be totally useful, and wasn't a burden on the friend because it was just sitting in her closet.

*Keep a calendar of events happening during the dates you will be away and call before you leave to let others know you won't be able to make it. For us this included things like choir, ball, church activities, etc. It's just common courtesy to let others know if you can't participate in an activity or event.

*Speaking of letting others know, you shouldn't tell Facebook but it's a good idea to let Grandma know you are going to be away. Family members and friends that are in regular contact may need to know you will be gone. You don't want anyone to unnecessarily worry or send the police to break down your door if you are gone. Now I know we all carry cell phones but if you are going on a family vacation it is a great time to turn it off or put it down for awhile.

*If you are a homeschooling family, you need to decide beforehand if you will:
     A) Do schoolwork while you are gone. On some trips we take a backpack and work while we are away.
     B) Incorporate school into the trip with field trips to museums, nature reserves, etc. We've also done this and it is always lots of fun. Many field trip friendly places have printables or info on their website to enhance your learning experience.
     C) Take a true vacation (homeschoolers are always learning even if it isn't planned ya know)

*If you are a blogger, you should keep a close eye on your blog and schedule accordingly. If you do book or product reviews try to schedule shipments around your trip. Sometimes this doesn't work as it should and packages will arrive or reviews will be due while you are gone. Enlist a neighbor or friend to take care of your packages (or put a hold on deliveries) and work with the sponsor to post your review early or late. Don't forget you can pre-write posts and set them to future post.

*Last but not least look for coupons, events, and deals before you go. Scour the internet for 30 minutes and see what you can find! There is a wealth of information available about restaurants, entertainment venues, grocery stores, and more. You might be surprised by what you find and how much you can save!


What are your BEST vacation tips? Share in the comments.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Kids Can Change the World


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





Would your child want to be The Kid Who Changed the World? I think most kids have such great ambitions and unlimited potential that they all could be kids who change the world. That is exactly the point Andy Andrews is making in this book (formerly titled The Boy Who Changed the World). The story begins with a child named Norman and fills the reader in on what Norman did to change the world. Of course Norman couldn't have done it alone! He was helped along the way by Henry who had been helped along the way by George. The colorful illustrations by Philip Hurst enhance the theme that everything we do can touch someone else and make a difference. How is that for some positive reading for your kiddo?

It is important to start teaching your children at an early age that God has BIG plans for them! Give them the confidence to shine those gifts He has bestowed upon them and teach them to pray out decisions to find His path for their lives. This book based on a true story is a great way to get that conversation started. Be sure to pray over your kids about their futures and don't be afraid to let the kids hear you! They need to know that they are covered by your prayers. If you aren't fond of praying aloud then keep a prayer journal for each of your kids. I know grown ups who still cherish the prayer journals of their parents.

Our church does an amazing job of helping our kids see what they can do. Recently the kids had a whole Sunday of leading service. They opened the service, played music, sang, took up tithe, did skits, and presented 2 messages (sermons). Both of my children participated and it always makes my heart soar to see them involved in church leadership. My Apple participated with a friend in giving one of the two messages. Now is the right time to show our kids how important it is to be leaders in the church.

photo courtesy of Katherine Chandler


Now are you ready for a chance to win a copy of this lovely hardback children's book? Enter via the easy Giveaway Tools widget and one reader will get their own copy!



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