Review: Weird and Wonderful Creations

 

Here’s a fun book for ages 4-8: Weird and Wonderful Creations published by Zonderkidz.  It’s a full-color hardback book with 123 pages.  It’s actually 4 books in 1!  The four books are: Spiders, Snakes, Bees, and Bats; Big Bugs, Little Bugs; Sea Creatures; Poisonous, Smelly, and Amazing Plants.  As you can probably tell from the titles, this is a book that would appeal to boys!

Each page has a wonderful photograph of the animal or plant that is being discussed on it.  The photos are definitely the best part of the book.  The words (sentences) are written on an easier reading level.  Some young children will be able to read the book independently.  The parent or teacher reading it will learn a ton of facts about each animal or plant!

There was one thing that I found a bit frustrating, though.  Sometimes a page would tell about something, but then the picture wouldn’t relate to it.  For example, on the page which tells us that baby mantises are called nymphs, it would be nice to have a picture of some nymphs–maybe side by side with an adult mantis.

I learned quite a lot from this book!  Did you know that fireflies once were used in China to light up lanterns? My favorite section was about the ocean animals, where we learn about jellyfish, sea horses, whales, and sea turtles.  In Spider, Snakes, Bees, and Bats, we learn about those four animals in general.  In Big Bugs, Little Bugs we learn about butterflies, goliath beetles, and praying mantises, and lightning bugs.  In Poisonous, Smelly, and Amazing Plants we read about a mushroom called the fly agaric, the corpse plant, the Venus flytrap, and redwood and sequoia trees.

There is an index in the back so you can easily find the animal or plant you’re looking for. And I loved that we learn that God is the amazing creator of all these creatures!

 

(I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in order to write this honest review.  This post also contains affiliate links.)

Book Review/ Giveaway: “Rescue- Raising Teens in a Drowning Culture”

I now have a teenager, and next year I will have 2! It won’t be long, in fact, until I’ll have 5 teenagers all at once!
So, when I was offered the opportunity to review Candy Gibb’s book Rescue: Raising Teens in a Drowning Culture, I felt like I could use a refresher course on what to expect from the teen years, as well as what the new issues are that I’ll be facing.

Rescue is a very helpful book for learning about parenting teenagers.  The author Candy gives much wisdom herself.  She is the mother of three children, but she is also the Executive Director of a major Crisis Pregnancy Center in Amarillo, TX called CareNet Pregnancy Center. She has an amazing story of redemption, the video of which can be found here.  She deals with tough teen issues daily, so it was so good for me to read her advice on how to approach these tough topics.

But the book doesn’t just have words of advice from Candy.  She has assembled a group of recently graduated teens –mostly college students– into a group she calls the Lifeguards.  In each chapter she has each of them share from their own experiences.  Wow- what an eye-opener.  I’ve already been feeling lately that things truly are different for my kids that they were for me, and that there is a generation gap between us that I wish weren’t there.  I know reading Rescue is going to help me with that.

Here are the chapters you’ll find in Rescue:

1- Your Family

2- Faith/Identity

3- Teens, Sex, and Society

4- Technology

5- My Teen is Struggling with Homosexuality

6- Pro-Life & Pro-Choice

7- Communication

8- Mentoring

9- Preparing Teens for College & Beyond

10- Building an Ark

 

The format of the book includes “Commentaries from Candy,” “Let’s Ask the Lifeguards,” “Treading Tips” (practical nuggets of wisdom that sumarize the lessons), and “Life Preservers” (relevant and encouraging Scripture).

You will find that Rescue is written from a biblical perspective.  She encourages us to have our teens in church. But it is so much more practical and real that that.

 

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

“Teaching your teen to find value and identity in the Lord is more critical than teaching them to eat healthy and helping them get into the university of their choice.  Remind your teenager of the Lord’s calling on their life.”

“A lack of identity is prevalent due in part to the influence of  social media. . .  Often times, when someone posts a selfie, it’s to get a response. . .  ‘Do you think I’m beaufiful?’ or ‘How would you rate me?’ ”

“Prepare your teens for the ridicule they will likely face from their peers if they choose to remain sexually pure.  Help them develop ways to deal with it.”

 

Rescue: Raising Teens in a Drowning Culture is completely filled with practical advice such as this.  I’m so happy to have a copy of the book to give away!

Giveaway:

Update:  The winner is AmySD!

 

(Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Rescue in order to write this honest review.  I also received one to give away.   This post contains affiliate links.)

Review of “Purposeful Design: Understanding the Creation”

Purposeful Design Review
 

 

Purposeful Design: Understanding the Creation by author Jay Schabacker is a new book we have been reading in our home lately, and I’m happy to review it for you today.  You can see more about it at the Purposeful Design website.

There are several ways to describe this beautiful book:

  • It’s a great Coffee Table book, for guests to pick up and leaf through.
  • It’s an informative and enjoyable book for reading aloud to your kids about our God’s awesome creation.  (My 9-year-old daughter especially enjoyed me reading it to her.)
  • It’s a book that can be used by junior high or high school students who are studying science.

Purposeful Design Review

The book is usable with all ages, is a sturdy hardback book of 91 pages, and costs $18.95.  You can purchase it here.

 

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One of the best parts of the book is that it’s full of beautiful pictures!  There is lots of Scripture sprinkled through as well.

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The format of the book is that there are 7 chapters–one for each day of creation.  Then the author goes into detail about some of the things that were created on that day.

For each chapter here is what you’ll read about:

Day 1:  God created the heavens and the earth, the planets continuing their orbit defies the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

Day 2: God created the atmosphere and water, how the rain cycle works.

Day 3: God created the dry land and vegetation, why apples are so healthy for us, ways in which plants are useful.

Day 4: God created the sun, moon, and stars; how the suns rays and earth’s tilt give us our seasons, why sunrise and sunsets change from day to day; using this information to build Stonehenge and the Ground Zero Memorial; the benefits of our moon; ocean tides; how leatherback turtles take advantage of the tides; stars and celestial navigation.

Day 5:  God created the birds and fish, how birds and fish benefit us, birds’ instincts, salmon, how fish swim, why ice floats, funny-looking animals in the ocean.

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Day 6: God created land animals and people, domestic animals such as camels and cows, amazing uniqueness of humans, our amazing bodies (including the appendix), cells, brain.

Day 7: God rested and taught us to rest, too.

The only thing negative I have to say about the book is that some of the photographs are not high quality (are somewhat blurry), as you might see in the photo below.

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Overall, I am very happy with Purposeful Design and am glad to have it in our home now.  Some parts are very detailed, which can be great for older kids and adults to learn some amazing things you never knew before!

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Also included to use with the book is the Young Explorer’s Club curriculum, and it’s free!  You get student pages that are fill-in-the-blank, and a teacher’s guide with all the answers.  Here are a couple of pages from the Young Explorer’s Club:

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Another child just wanted to draw the days of creation as I was reading about them:

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Visit Jay Schabacker, the author, on social media!

Blog: www.Jayschabacker.blogspot.com

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/pages/Jay-Schabacker

Twitter: www.Twitter.com/Jayschabacker

LinkedIn: Jayschab

 

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Review: “The Legend of St. Nicholas”


Today’s review is of a Christmas book you might want to get this Christmas: The Legend of St. Nicholas: A Story of Christmas Giving by Dandi Daley Mackall, illustrated by Richard Cowdrey.

In this modern-day story, Nick is a young boy who is going Christmas shopping with his dad.  He’s not real excited about getting something for others; in fact he’s hoping there is money left over so he can get something for himself.  As he is wandering around the store, he hears someone say his name.  It’s a mall Santa who is telling the story of a boy named Nick.  This is the same Nick who would grow up to be St. Nicholas.

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Nick’s parents loved God and taught him to do so as well.  They were also wealthy.  When they died, Nick was still young.  He realized that God had a plan for him–to give his money away to those in need.  He did that secretly, including to some girls who needed the money for their dowries, and he threw the money in through their chimney!

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I enjoyed reading The Legend of St. Nicholas.  The story was cute–how the modern day Nick learns about the 4th Century Nick and decides that he wants to be like him and be generous as well!  I also loved the illustrations.  The book is filled with beautiful paintings by Richard Cowdrey, and it was fun to see the snowy owl which appeared on many of the pages!

 

(Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in order to give this honest review.  This post also contains affiliate links.)

 

 

 

Review: If He Had Not Come by David Nicholson

Christmas Book Review
Are you looking for a new Christmas book to read to your kids this year?  I’ve found one for you!  Today I am reviewing If He Had Not Come by David Nicholson.

This story is best for ages 6 and up and is a beautiful physical hardback book in full color.

David Nicholson has reintroduced the story which is a classic Christmas story by Nan F. Weeks.  It is illustrated by Charles Jaskiewicz.

I really enjoyed reading If He Had Not Come.  My first thought was that it reminded me of the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life!” Remember what happens there?  George is faced with a new reality of what life would be like if he hadn’t lived.  Well, in this story we see some evidence of how our world would be different if Jesus hadn’t lived.  It’s powerful to read about the differences!

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A young boy is the main character and is excited about Christmas the next day.  Before bed he reads the Bible with his dad and they read John 15:22 where Jesus says, “If I had not come. . . ”  He goes to bed thinking about that.  When he wakes up he goes downstairs and doesn’t see his parents anywhere.  But there are other things missing as well: the Chrismas tree and presents and decorations!  He goes outside and finds that the factory down the street is running that day. When he asks the foreman why they are open on Christmas day, he says he’s never heard of Christmas and doesn’t know what the boy is talking about.  He goes from place to place trying to figure out what is going on, and no one seems to know anything about Christmas.  He runs to his church, but it’s not there.  He runs to the Children’s Home to watch the kids open Christmas presents, but it’s not there either!  There is just a sign in each place that says, “If I Had Not Come.”

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He then sees a sick old man and tells him he’ll run to the hospital to get him some help, but the hospital isn’t there.  And the homeless shelter doesn’t exist either.  Signs that say “If I Had Not Come” are everywhere.  Finally, the boy runs home and goes up to bed.  Soon he wakes up and realizes it had all been a dream, but a very powerful one!  Christianity  has made an enormous impact in our world and in our society.  Christians who care about others have built hospitals and homeless shelters and children’s homes.  They have spread the love of Christ all around, and if He had not come, our world would be vastly different today.

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After the lovely story with fine illustrations, there are several pages that a parent or teacher can go over with their children.  The discussion questions were quite interesting and I enjoyed doing these with my kids.  There is also a page that explains how to share the gospel and how to accept Jesus as one’s Savior.

David Nicholson took a wonderful old story and put it in a great package to share with kids.  I’m sure you’ll like this book just like I did!

The price is Casebound Hardcover for $18.95 and E-Book for $3.99.

Visit the If He Had Not Come Facebook page!

 

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Review: The Berenstain Bears Blessed are the Peacemakers

Here’s another great Berenstain Bears book written by son Mike Berenstain called Blessed are the Peacemakers.

This story is based on the verse from Matthew 5:9 where Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

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The cubs are at school and we find that there are several groups who are always bickering with each other.  They’re trouble-makers and tease and bully.  Everyone joins in for the all-school play, though.  And it’s pretty ironic that the lead girl and boy (for Romeo and Grizzliet) are from rival “gangs.”  Problems continued to happen until they were actually on stage, and a fight breaks out in front of the audience!  Even the parents got involved.  It’s Squire Grizzly and Preacher Brown who became the peacemakers and helped everyone realized what they were doing was wrong.

The final page has “Activites and Questions from Brother and Sister Bear”

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There are 3 questions to talk about with your child and 2 activities to get out and do.  These help to add to the teaching of the book.

 

(Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Blessed are the Peacemakers in order to write this honest review. This post also contains affiliate links.)

Review “Samantha Sanderson at the Movies” by Robin Caroll

I enjoy getting books that would be good for my tween daughter (who just turned 11) to read.  She loves to read and she loved reading the Samantha Sanderson books.  When we received them I didn’t have time to read them yet; my daughter read them in a matter of days!

The first book in the Faithgirlz! Series for Tweens by Robin Caroll is Samantha Sanderson At the Movies.  We are introduced to Sam who is a 7th grader in public school and her best friend Makayla.  The scenes go from school, fun places (movie theater, football game), church, and Sam’s home.  Sam has a great desire to be an investigative reporter like her mother.  Sam’s father is a police detective.  The story starts out at the movie theater when Sam helps to discover that a bomb has been planted there.

The entire story is that Sam is reporting on the crime at her school’s new blog site.  She continually has to make decisions about what would be appropriate to print, and she often makes bad decisions, such as all but accusing certain people of committing the crime when there was no proof.  She justifies what she does by saying that that’s what a reporter does.  At the end of the story she learns that she didn’t do it very well.  Her mom and dad talk to her about writing things that are kind–not just true.  And listening to her father’s wishes and keeping his trust, instead of just writing what she wants to because she’ll get more comments.

The story was very well-written.  Nothing about the writing bothered me (which seems to be common in lots of books these days).  I loved the ways living out the Christian life was seemlessly woven into the story.  Sam talks to her youth director at church and gets advice on witnessing to her friend at school who isn’t a Christian.  She prays with her dad and talks with her mom about God.

The only negative thing I have is that there was so much more time that Sam spent justifying writing what she wanted than there was of her admitting she was wrong and listening to her parents explain the best way.  I fear that maybe my daughter didn’t quite catch all of it.

Overall, I recommend Samantha Sanderson At the Movies as a book that would be great for a Christian tween girl to read.  Now, I’m off to read Samantha Sanderson On the Scene!

 

(I received a complimentary copy of Samantha Sanderson At the Movies in order to write this honest review.  This post also contains affiliate links.)

Review of 3 New Veggie Tales Books

We have 3 great new Veggie Tales books in our home that I’d like to share with you today.

First is Yuletide Ice Cube Fair by Karen Poth.  The Veggie Tales characters are all getting ready for Christmas!  They ice skate and then hear the bell calling them over to the annual ice cube carving contest.  Everyone works hard creating their incredible carvings to display what Christmas means to them.  The finalists are a shopping mall, angels singing, the peas winning the prize, and a Christmas feast.  But the winner is Junior who carved a tiny stable with a little baby and a shepherd kneeling down.  That displayed what Christmas truly is about!  You’ll also find two Scriptures from Luke 2 in this paperback book of 20 pages.  The book is best for ages 4-8.

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The next two books are Level 1 “I Can Read” books.  These are always a hit in my home where I have beginning readers.  The titles are Sheerluck Holmes and The Case of the Missing Friend and The Mess Detectives and the Case of the Lost Temper, both by Karen Poth.

 

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In Sheerluck Holmes and The Case of the Missing Friend Sheer luck Holmes and Bobby Watson have to solve the mystery of what happened to their friend who disappeared from the pizza place. They find a note he left that said he was leaving because his feelings had been hurt. The ones who hurt his feelings confess, find Sniffy, and ask for forgiveness.

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In The Mess Detectives and the Case of the Lost Temper Bob and Larry and trying to solve the mystery of the Masked Door Slammer. But the story is really about bob who is really in a bad mood. He gets madder and madder as the sort goes on, and finally he loses his temper. Larry explains that Bob is being just like the Masked Door Slammer by losing his temper. Bob realizes that he is right and chooses not to “let his anger run wild” anymore.

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(Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of these books in order to write these honest reviews.  This post also contains affiliate links.)

 

Review/ Giveway: “It Will Be Okay” by Lysa TerKeurst

It Will Be Okay review

I’m happy to be reviewing a book from one of my favorite authors today: Lysa TerKeurst. But this time it’s for a children’s book!

It Will be Okay: Trusting God Through Fear and Change (Little Seed & Little Fox)
 
is a beautiful hardback book for
ages 4-8.  I absolutely adore the illustrations by Natalia Moore–so precious!

It Will Be Okay by Lysa TerKeurst

*Great purchase for parents or grandparents who want to encourage their children to deal with fear and change

*Children will learn that God has good plans for them

*Helps kids know that God will be with them through every stop as they grow

The book has a pretty page for filling in if giving as a gift.  The next page is a letter from Lysa to the parent about why she wrote the book.  She knew she needed to help her kids find a way to face their fears and trust in God, even when she isn’t around to remind them.  Next is a page with 10 Scriptures to Memorize with Your Kids.  There are some really great scriptures listed here.  I think my favorite is Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

The story is 28 pages long and tells about a little seed who is safe in the Farmer’s shed.  A fox comes in and befriends him.  They are quite happy keeping each other company until the day the farmer plants the seed.  The seed is very fearful, but the Farmer reassures it that He can be trusted.  The fox finally finds the seed and also encourages it.  Then, as you can guess, in the spring the seed grows.  It eventually grows into a wonderful tree.  The fox and the seed/tree continue to encourage each other and to trust in the Farmer.

You can see the inside the book here:  Flipbook

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And now for the GIVEAWAY: 
If you would like to win a copy of It Will be Okay: Trusting God Through Fear and Change (Little Seed & Little Fox), please enter through the Rafflecopter app below.  The winner will be chosen on 10/14/14 and will have 24 hours to respond to my email.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

(Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of It Will be Okay: Trusting God Through Fear and Change (Little Seed & Little Fox) in order to write this honest review. This post also contains affiliate links.)

Linked to Living and Learning at Home Trivium Tuesdays

Review of “Preschoolers and Peace: Homeschooling Older Kids With Success While Loving the Little Ones at your Feet”

Preschoolers and Peace Review
Today I am happily reviewing Preschoolers and Peace: Homeschooling older kids with success while loving the little ones at your feet .  It’s an e-book in PDF format written by Kendra Fletcher from Preschoolers and Peace . This helpful resource is for any mom who is homeschooling an older child with a preschooler (or baby or toddler) and only costs $2.99! It’s an easy-to-read e-book and is 47 pages long.  It has a few pictures sprinkled throughout.

When I first started blogging 8 1/2 years ago one of the first bloggers I started connecting with was Kendra Fletcher.  I was drawn by the name of her blog: Preschoolers and Peace.  At the time I had 4 children ages 5 and under, with another baby soon to be born.  I knew we wanted to homeschool them, but I didn’t know how in the world I would actually be able to do it!  I looked to people like Kendra who were a few years ahead of me on the road and had some wisdom (actually, lots of wisdom!) to share.  Kendra ended up with 8 kids, just like me!  Her oldest 2 are now high school graduates and the youngest is 5.  My oldest is 13 and youngest is 2, so, I’m still looking her for wisdom!  And I have to tell you one more thing before I review the book.  I got to meet Kendra in person this year at the 2:1 Conference (a blogging conference for homeschooling moms).  She came all the way from California to Chicago.  It was a blessing to finally meet her and to hear her speak.  :)   And, she’s just as wonderful in person as online!

Here are the chapters that you will find included:

What a Homeschooling Mom Needs

Preparing Yourself to Homeschool Older Kids With Little Ones Underfoot

Planning Around Preschoolers

How Do I Keep Them Busy?

What Does a 2-Year-Old’s Day Look Like?

How Do I Get Any Preschooling Done?

How Not to Just Kill Time Circle Time: Or How We Pull the Little Ones In

Preschool Boys

When All of Your Kiddos Are Preschoolers

Preschool Chores

Planning for Preschool

When Mama is Worn Out (or Pregnant)

Meal Planning 101

What you’ll find in the Preschoolers and Peace book is some practical advice and heartfelt encouragement.  I loved reading about her struggles and how she had to change things along the way.  One of the best chapters was about different activities to do with (or give to) toddlers to keep them occupied when you need to concentrate your teaching on the older kids.  I’ve used a lot of those ideas, but she listed some I had never thought of!  I also loved how there are so many links to online articles to give additional information to the topic being discussed.  The e-book is short, but it would be way longer if she included all the linked-to articles in it!

In one chapter Kendra references Circle Time.  I learned about this years ago from Preschoolers and Peace and have done it in various ways ever since.  Basically, it’s simply getting all your kids together to teach them something as a group.  This year we do it as soon as I get my 2-year-old down for a nap.  It includes my 5 middle kids and we do memorization, Bible reading and study, science and history reading, and literature read-alouds.

I really can’t think of anything I didn’t like about the book.  It’s short and full of great information about homeschooling multiple ages from someone who knows what she’s talking about.  It’s well worth the money!

Preschoolers and Peace Review
Be sure to connect Preschoolers and Peace on Social Media!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PreschoolersandPeace
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KendraEFletcher
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kenj/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+KendraFletcher/posts
You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/user/preschoolersandpeace

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Review of “The Alabaster Jar” by Anna Alden-Tirrill

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Today’s review is the 5th book in the Annie’s Adventures Series called The Alabaster Jar: The Miracle of Love by Anna Alden-Tirrill.  It was my 10-year-old daughter’s favorite book of the series!

Annie, who is a 13-year-old Christian homeschooled girl is now living in Australia with her parents.  We see her do a few things in Sydney, but soon the focus of the story is on Europe and Israel.  She sure is a world traveler!

Annie receives a package from a lady who was a character in the fourth book, The Promise Box.  In it is an ossuary with several items inside that were believed to have belonged to Mary Magdalene.  We learn about Mary and about the special items in the box.  Everything is checked out and is believed to be genuine.  We then follow Annie on an adventure with her aunt, uncle, and cousin, running from the bad guys who want to steal the priceless relics. There is danger and excitement, with a little history, geography, and science thrown in.

The story was fun to read.  There were a few moments where the action got bogged down by too much narration.  But overall, the book flowed and was an easy read.

I think most teen and pre-teen girls will really enjoy reading this story.  By the way, you don’t have to have read the other books to follow this one.  Everything relevant is explained again.

 

Read my reviews of the other Annie books: My Paris ConnectionMy Timeless Locket,  My Riviera Connection, and The Promise Box.

Check out Annie’s Adventure’s website to order the books.

Or here:


(Disclosure:  I received complimentary copies of the Annie’s Adventures series in order to write these honest reviews. This post contains affiliate links.)

 

 

 

Review “The Pioneer Adventure” and Sale on “The Pilgrim Adventure”

Just in time for back-to-school,  The Pioneer Adventure by Susan Kilbride is now available.  This is the fifth book in the Our America. . . series.  I have also reviewed The Pilgrim Adventure, The King Phillip’s War Adventure, The Salem Adventure, and The Revolutionary War Adventure.
The twins Finn and Ginny are still trying to find their parents who are lost back in time.  Each time they go back, they enter a different period of history and experience it first-hand while always keeping an eye out for their parents.  This time they land back in a wagon train that is heading to west on the Oregon Trail.  They find out that it’s not all fun and games traveling with wagon train.
Susan Kilbride, the author, pored through many journals of first-hand accounts of traveling west on the Oregon Trail.  She chose several exciting, true events which have been incorporated into this story.
The twins experience a cholera epidemic, Indian attacks, floods while trying to cross rivers, dangers traveling through the steep mountain trails, having to take their wagon apart to go down river a while and then put it back together, oxen dying, and Finn even gets amnesia when he falls off his horse.  A couple of the stories are truly amazing, such as one where people hear a mysterious voice calling out a message which ends up saving many peoples’ lives.
There is also a surprise at the end.  If you’ve read the other books, you’ll definitely want to read this one as well to find out what it is!
I have said numerous times that reading books like this is the best way to study history.  It really brings you into the time period.  This book is perfect for older elementary or middle school kids to read to themselves, or for Mom to read aloud to all.  It’s 114 pages long and includes a drawing and a map.
Susan has also provided a free pdf of activities to do along with reading the book!  There are recipes for beef jerky and apple fruit leather (and more), and directions for making a daisy chain, a Thaumatrope, a silhouette, and a yarn doll.  Have fun studying the Oregon Trail this year!
The Kindle version of The Pilgrim Adventure will be on sale for $2.99 on August 4, 5, & 6. 
Susan Kilbride’s other books:
(Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of The Pioneer Adventure in order to write this honest review.  This post also contains affiliate links.)

Review “Body & Soul” by Bethany Hamilton

Bethany Hamilton, world-champion surfer, has written a new book that I love!  Today I share a review of Body & Soul: A Girl’s Guide to a Fit, Fun, and Fabulous Life (co-written with Dustin Dillberg.)

You may remember Bethany as the 13-year-old young lady whose arm was taken by a tiger shark off the coast of Hawaii where she lived.  She had been surfing all her life, and even after losing her arm, couldn’t wait to get back in the water.  She wrote an autobiography called Soul Surfer (which I also enjoyed reading) that was turned into the movie Soul Surfer. Through the years Bethany has learned techniques for exercising and eating well to keep her body in top-notch condition for surfing competitions.  Bethany recently married and is a believer in Jesus.  I found this book to be a wonderful opportunity to share a role model with my daughters.

Body & Soul is written specifically for teen and tween girls.  It is a 155-page paperback book that is beautifully graphically designed.  I just love looking through the book!  The photographs of food and exercises, the fonts and graphics–it’s all gorgeous!  But the content is even greater.

Here is the list of the chapters (with explanations and highlights):

1. In Total Confidence:  This first chapter presents the challenge.  Do you really want to get healthy?  Lots of encouragement from Bethany and from Scripture (verses are sprinkled throughout the book).

2. Your Body is a Gift:  You’ll learn how God made your body for a purpose and it’s our responsibility to take care of it.  We are made in His image.

3. Have an Amazing Outlook: Change your mindset in order to make healthy changes.  No using the word “can’t.”  Set goals.

4. Get Your Eat On:  Understanding about how food affects our bodies.  Learning about protein and carbs, whole foods, where to buy them, portion sizes, creating meal plans, what healthy snacks to take with you, how much water to drink (and how to spice it up), and recipes for green smoothies and sun tea.

5. Surfer Secrets For Your Best Bod:  First, Bethany shares about why posture is so important.  Then there are four workouts–with full instructions and pictures.

6. Tackle Your Challenges:  Q and A, like what other fitness options there are, identifying your fitness style, making eating healthy fun, and not getting burned out.

7. Go the Distance:  More encouragement to persevere.

8. Clean Green Recipes:  An awesome chapter with tons of recipes: breakfast (mango muffins, poached eggs with kale), juices/smoothies, lunch (chicken nori wrap, summer rolls), theme salads, dinner (macadamia nut crusted chicken, grilled veggie salad), side dishes (oven-roasted broccoli, guacamole), desserts and snacks (kale chips, banana “ice cream”).

9. Your Perfect Plan: Another favorite chapter of mine with the meal selections for every meal and every snack for a whole week!

 

One really fun thing about this book (that I know the teens will love) is that they can use the HarperCollins Unbound app to scan throughout the book to get multimedia and interactive content on their device!  I especially liked seeing videos of a couple of exercises and Bethany and a friend making the recipe for a Green Smoothie.

Overall, I recommend Body & Soul for anyone who has a teen or tween girl they would like to inspire to get healthier.  It will also encourage them in their walk with God!

I review for BookLook Bloggers

 

(Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Body & Soul from BookLook Bloggers.  This post also contains affiliate links.)

Review- Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms by Mary Jo Tate

Flourish Book Review
I have another wonderful book to recommend today called Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms from Apologia Educational MinistriesWhen I was reading it, people kept asking if I was reading it for a review. I said I was, but that I would have read it regardless.  Flourish is now a staple homeschool book on my shelf.  I will refer back to it often and encourage all my homeschooling friends to read it.  It’s that good!

Mary Jo Tate suddenly found herself single, with four boys to raise.  She had already been homeschooling and didn’t want to stop in order to get a job to support her family. Flourish is where she shares what she has done all these years to make it work!  I really learned a lot and have already put some of her suggestions into practice.

If you look at the Flourish website, you’ll find a sample chapter and the table of contents.  But let me share what you’ll find in each chapter here:

Her story, “Life Management”–not time management, FREEDOM (where each letter gives you something for your “toolbox”), how to schedule your time (using a time log), setting goals, planning tools (goals, plans, to-do lists), being OK with interruptions, adjusting your attitude, how to take care of your health, training your children, making family memories, home management, homeschooling, how to flourish if you’re a single mom, running a home business effectively, and how to figure out what to do if it’s not working.

There are 2 appendices in the back of the book: Recommended Resources (wonderful books about life management, family life, homemaking, home education, reading, single parents, and home business) and Planning Forms (Pre-Book Self-Evaluation, Time Log, Big Dream, Yearly Review, Yearly Goals, Monthly Calendar, Weekly Plan, and Post-Book Progress Check).

I really found the Planning Forms to very helpful.  I filled out the evaluations, answered the questions about my dreams, and filled out goals and plans!  Somehow this was different from how I had done similar exercises before.  Mary Jo teaches in a way that really related to me.  She understands how hard it is, but she knows using these tools can make life work better.

These are some of the things she shared that made the most impact on me: People ask her “How do you do it all?”  She says she doesn’t.  And she redefines “it all.”  “True balance doesn’t mean spending an equal amount of time and attention on each area of your life.  It means spending an appropriate amount of time and attention on each area.”  She doesn’t allow whining–not from her kids and not from herself!   If don’t have time for something, ask yourself, “How can I make time for it?”  Make a list of 5-minute jobs that you can quickly do if you have a few minutes.  (I did this one this week and cleaned out part of my car.)  The goal-setting was fun.  For my Big Dream list, I said that I’d like to plan for my husband and me to go to Israel for our 20th Anniversary!  And the most important thing I learned was to make a “Stop-Doing” list.  I already have several things on it that I will stop doing when we start back up to school next month.

Here is a final quote I’ll leave you with.  You’ll just have to pick up the book to see how it’s done!

“Just half an hour of weekly planning will multiply your productivity and relieve stress and frustration.”

Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms is a paperback book, 288 pages and is intended for homeschool moms. It’s only $15!

Flourish Book Review

Be sure to follow Mary Jo Tate on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

Flourish Book Review
 

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Review of “The Promise Box: The Miracle of Commitment” by Anna Alden-Tirrill

annie

 

Today I have a review of the book The Promise Box: The Miracle of Commitment by Anna Alden-Tirrill.  It’s the 4th book in the series Annie’s Adventures.

Once again, I have learned some very interesting things that I have never heard of before!  We follow 13-year-old Annie to Germany.  She is homeschooled and an only child, so Annie and her parents have been traveling around Europe living in different cities while her father works for the universities in different cities.  In The Promise Box we not only experience the adventures Annie goes on, but we learn about German food, culture, and a lot of history!

While out shopping in an antique store one day, Annie and her mom find a pretty box.  They are able to open it and discover some wonderful secrets that have been buried since World War II.

They are living in a small town called Oberammergau which has a long history dating back to the bubonic plague in 1632.  The town has been performing a Passion Play since 1634 as a thank you to God for sparing their lives from the dreadful plague.  Then, many years later residents from the town decided to help rescue people from the German concentration camps during World War II.  You’ll follow the story as they read through an old diary and follow leads to uncover the whole mystery–including one about the Spear of Destiny (the sword which allegedly pierced Jesus on the cross and which Hitler was supposedly “using” to give him power.  As soon as the sword was confiscated by the Americans, Hitler killed himself.)

The story itself was really exciting.  But the writing gets a bit bogged down at times.  I would recommend it for ages 13 and up, although my 10-year-old daughter read it and then immediately started book 5! Girls would probably enjoy it more than boys, simply because it has Annie for the main character.  The book is also unabashedly Christian–which I love!  Scripture and prayer are woven through the story.

Read my reviews of My Paris Connection, My Timeless Locket, and My Riviera Connection. The next review will be book will be Annie’s Adventure #5 when she travels to Sydney, Australia!

Check out Annie’s Adventure’s website to order the books.

Or here:


(Disclosure:  I received complimentary copies of the Annie’s Adventures series in order to write these honest reviews. This post contains affiliate links.)

 

 

 

Review: Kinder Cottage “Peter Rabbit” Series books

Kinder Cottage Review
Kinder Cottage Publishing gave me the privilege to review 2 books:
How Peter Rabbit Went to Sea and
Peter Rabbit and the Little Boy

 

A little about the books:

These are part of a series of 10 books about Peter Rabbit which were published by the Henry Altemus Company from 1917-1922 and written by Duff Graham.  They have been reprinted (with some words updated) by Kinder Cottage.

 

Kinder Cottage Review
How Peter Rabbit Went to Sea
In How Peter Rabbit Went to Sea, Peter Rabbit is sent to Mr. McGregor’s garden to get some cabbages.  On the way home he sees and eats some green apples.  Unfortunately, they make him sick.  He forgets about the cabbages and when he gets home his mom gives him a spanking.  The next day Peter and his sisters go out to play, but Peter goes to the brook even though his mother told him not to. Peter builds himself a boat and goes out into the water.  Peter sees a whale, a shark, a crab, and a sword-fish. A gull lands on the boat, picks up Peter, and flies him to the shore.  When Peter finally gets back home he decides never to go out to be a pirate again!

Kinder Cottage Review

Peter Rabbit and the Little Boy

In Peter Rabbit and the Little Boy, Peter is out playing with his sisters when he gets rough and the little girl rabbits get hurt.  Peter is made to stay in to play for the rest of the day.  He asks forgiveness and promises not to be so rough again.  One day soon after Peter and the girls were out playing when Peter goes over the hill even though his mother told them not to.  First his kite gets stuck in a tree and then he finds his cousin Jack-the-Jumper.  They decide to go into the wood, even thought Peter’s mother had told them never to do so–naughty bunnies.  They meet a Scissors Man who told them he had used scissors on a little boy who wouldn’t obey his mother.  They got very scared and ran away as fast as they could.  Then a hawk almost catches them.  They go to Mr. McGregor’s garden and eat cabbages.  When they leave, Peter discovers his watch is gone.  He cries, and then a little boy comes up to them.  He had found the watch in the cabbage patch.  He takes them to his play tent, and they have lots of fun playing.  Then the boy gives them presents and invites them to get a ride home in his grandfather’s car.  The message is that many dangers won’t come to you if you obey your mother!

How we liked them:

The books are written in an old-fashioned style.  I’m sure you’ve read some of this style if you have read books to your kids that were written from about 1900-1950.  It’s not my favorite style of writing.  It’s pretty wordy and not very poetic.  The stories are a bit random–not much of a plot line to them.  These are the kind of books I have to be in the right mood to read.  My kids enjoyed hearing the stories, though.  And my five-year-old, especially, loved reading them to herself.  The illustrations are cute, but again they are old-fashioned.  So, if you like old-fashioned, you’ll love these!

The binding is very nice–hardback with nice thick pages.  Each of the books I reviewed was 64 pages long.

Age Range:
These are ideal for ages 3-9.
If you would like to see the other books in this series:
The Tale of Peter Rabbit
Peter Rabbit at the Farm
Peter Rabbit’s Christmas
How Peter Rabbit Went to Sea
Peter Rabbit Goes A-Visiting
Peter Rabbit’s Easter
Peter Rabbit’s Birthday
When Peter Rabbit Went to School
Peter Rabbit and the Little Boy
Peter Rabbit and Jack the Jumper
Price:
The backs of the book say $12.95, but Kinder Cottage Publishing sells them for $4.00 each!
Kinder Cottage Review
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Review/Giveaway of “Talking With Your Daughter About Understanding Boys”

Bob and Dannah Gresh have done it again with another home-run book!  Talking With Your Daughter About Understanding Boys is a “Great Dates for Dads & Daughters” book.  If you are looking for a wonderful bonding experence between Dad and Daughter this summer, this book provides exactly what you need!  (And there’s a giveaway, so read to the bottom of the post!)

Talking With Your Daughter About Understanding Boys is a paperback book of 178 pages.  It’s divided into 3 parts.  In part 1 you’ll read the reasons why we need to teach our daughters–especially tween daughters ages 8-12.  And you’ll learn why a lot of this information is best coming from dads.  With Dads encouraging and teaching their daughters, the girls are much less likely to enter into risky behaviors.

Part 2 gives you the fun stuff–8 dates that dads can do with their daughters.  Each date has a theme and a specific lesson to learn, a prep talk for the dad, an activity (place to go/thing to do), ways to prep your daughter for life (teaching her how to search the internet, for example), the Talk for Dad to have with Daughter (complete with pull-out sheets to fill in), and an MP3 episode to listen to that you can download from the Secret Keeper Girl website.

Here an example from Date #2.  The objective is to begin to understand what it means to be a girl.  The key verses are from Proverbs 31.  The materials needed are baking ingredients and an empty kitchen, because Dad and Daughter are going to make a dessert together!  There are a few different recipes to choose from (or pick your own!).  There are a number of Prep for Life ideas such as letting your daughter pay for the ingredients at the store.  Of course, you’ll play your SKG MP3 episode just before you start in the kitchen.  There is also a suggestion for a movie to watch together while you eat your dessert.  Finally, there is the Talk With Dad time.  The pull-outs included in the book guide dad through the whole discussion.  The one for Date #2 helps to identify the strengths of the woman from Proverbs 31 and to help your Daughter recognize her own God-given strengths.

The 8 Dates are:

1.  Doing a Prank and learning to understand boys.

2.  Cooking a dessert and learning to understand what it means to be a girl.

3.  Watching a movie (The Princess Bride) and discovering the difference between true love and counterfeit love.

4.  Doing a hike and learning to believe that her value comes from God, not a boy.

5.  Doing a treasure hunt and discovering that she is a treasure and should expect to be treated as one.

6.  Planting something and learning to grow by feeding herself with God’s Word.

7.  Star-gazing and learning to rely on God for guidance.

8.  A Celebration Date with Mom and Dad and beginning to view marriage as a picture of God’s love for His people.

 

Part 3 has some extras, like a 7-day devotional for dads and daughters to do together, ideas for single moms, and the “pull-outs” that the girls will write on for the dates (and possibly keep in their scrapbooks!)

I am positive that my daughters will love these dates with their dad.  They do require some planning.  But they’re so worth it!  I have also done some of the dates with Mom and Daughter.  Good memories.  :)

Check out these other books by Dannah Gresh.  I have loved them ALL!




Bob and Dannah Gresh:

BobandDannahGresh

 

And now the giveaway!  

Enter through the Rafflecopter app below.  U.S only, 18+ please.  Winner will be chosen Monday June 9 and will have 24 hours to respond to my email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Talking With Your Daughter About Understanding Boys in order to write this honest review.  This post also contains affiliate links.)

Review of Graham Blanchard books: “Close as a Breath,” “Jesus Saves Me,” and “Little Seed: A Life”

Blanchard books 004

 

I have 3 new board books to review today that teach children about Christ! They are called Learn, Absorb and Praise books and are published by Graham Blanchard and written by Callie Grant.

The “Spring Pack Set” includes

“Jesus Saves Me” from the Knowing My God series is for ages 0-7. It is a Learn book and teaches children about The Good Shepherd–Jesus– through the Scripture John 10:14-16, photographs of sheep with shepherds, and explanations about what sheep and shepherds do.  There are several different ways to use the book.  For toddlers, you can simply read the Scripture phrase that is on each page.  For preschoolers, you can talk about the photos and what they see in them.  And for older kids, you can read the explanations and questions and discuss what it means for Jesus to be our Good Shepherd.

“Close As a Breath” an Absorb book for ages 0-6. In it we experience a young girl’s magical day out with her dad during the autumn. She constantly asks her father questions about things she sees in nature and finally asks a question about God. Her dad shows great love for her and answers all her questions.

“Little Seed: A Life” is a Praise book for ages 0-5.  It follows the life cycle of a seed.  We see it fall to the ground, buried by a squirrel, protected during the winter weather, softening and growing in the spring, and fully grown in the summer.  But then it produces many seeds which then start the new life cycle.  This is an important concept for children to understand as it is such a common illustration in the Bible.

My younger children enjoyed listening to me read all three of the books, as well as looking through the illustrations themselves.  I liked reading all three as well, and especially enjoyed exploring the themes with my kids.  Little Seed: A Life is fun to read this time of year because they are seeing things growing outside.  I want them to know that some of those seeds had been there all winter, and for them to picture what the roots look like under the soil.  But I really want them to know about how our lives can be fruitful like the one seed and can (and should) produce many more seeds.  Close as a Breath is a great book to read during the fall, since its nature references (changing leaves and water freezing) relate to that time of year.  But its main point of God being as close to us as a breath is important to learn any time of the year.  Finally, Jesus Saves Me was the most fun to read to my toddler.  It has short phrases on each page (as well as the optional longer discussions) and great photos for little ones to look at.  And I want my kids to know why Jesus is the Good Shepherd and what that means for us. If you’re looking for some great board books to help your children learn important concepts about God, you won’t be disappointed with these!

Graham Blanchard Inc., a Christian Publishing company based in Austin, Texas, is on a mission to encourage and equip parents to effectively reach their kids about God, even at a very young age. For more information please visit www.grahamblanchard.com.

Blanchard books 005

 

(Disclosure:  I received complimentary copies of these three books in order to write this honest review.  This post also contains affiliate links.)

Review/Giveaway of “The Kid Who Changed the World”

I have a Review and Giveaway today of “The Kid Who Changed the World” by Andy Andrews, illustrated by Philip Hurst, and published by Tommy Nelson.

The book tells the story of a kid who had a dream and how his dream came to fruition through those who came before him. This children’s book is based on Andrews’ book “The Butterfly Effect.” Decisions we make (and encourage our children to make) can change the world.

And that’s what happened with Norman Borlang. Never heard of him? He had a desire to feed the hungry and through the influence of his mentor Henry Wallace, he made some special seeds that would grow into super plants that would feed more people than ordinary plants.

But Henry was mentored by George–George Washington Carver that is. And George was adopted by Moses and Susan Carver. All of these people were necessary for Norman’s dream to come true!

The basic message of the story is that little things can make a big difference if God is in them! Everyone can do something that will change the world.

This is a beautiful and inspirational book for kids, ages 8-12. It’s hardback with a cover and has lovely illustrations.

Now it’s time to enter the giveaway! Enter through the Rafflecopter app below. The winner will be chosen on June 6, 2014 and will have 24 hours to respond to my email. U.S. only, 18+


a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in order to write this honest review. This post contains affiliate links.)

Review/Giveaway of “Zippy’s Club” by Candida Sullivan, a book about bullying

If there is one subject that isn’t addressed as much in homeschooling as in the public school, it would be “bullying.” I am happy to review a book today that addresses that issue: Zippy’s Club by Candida Sullivan.  (And there’s a giveaway, so read down to the bottom of the post!)

The author Candida believes in miracles. She was born with a rare condition called Amniotic Band Syndrome, which generally causes death in most babies before they are born. She knows it is a beautiful blessing she survived and wants to show the world that her scars are not a punishment, but instead are a wonderful expression exemplifying God’s love and mercy for her life. She believes God spared her for a reason and wants to spend her life telling of the hope and love God placed inside her.  The Amniotic Band Syndrome caused deformities in her hands, feet, and skin.  And as a result Candida was the recipient of bullying.  Unfortunately, she decided to bully others as well, until she realized the best way to deal with it was to treat others with kindness.

In her third book about Zippy, this sweet zebra with no stripes is trying to create a club to fight against bullying.  He has a list of “chores” for all his club members to do in order to make the world a better place, so they decide not to stay.  Later he finds out that the Toby the lizard is being bullied by the snakes.  Toby thinks the best way to fight back is to learn to be mean like they are.  Zippy decides to go to talk to the snakes.  But they bully him as well–and it goes too far when they push Zippy off the cliff.  Now all the animals realize that they must stand up to the bullies and do what is necessary to make the bullying end.  Thankfully, Zippy is alright, and the club starts strong!

The book was a wonderful introduction about bullying for my kids, ages 5-10.  They saw it in action in the story, but there were also pages in the back of the book for parents or teachers to lead discussions about bullying.  I did this with my kids.  We talked about what it is, how it affects people, and what to do about it.  We also talked about how being a bystander is not acceptable.

Another wonderful thing about the book is that they encourage you to start your own Club to fight against bullying.  They even have a Zippy Club Kit which has a script of a play, a CD of masks for the characters, printable coloring sheets and stickers, a poster, badge, and membership certificate!  You can get the kit by emailing ZippyKit@ShadeTreePublishing.com.

zippyPoster (2)

Finally, I LOVED the illustrations!  Jack Foster is a wonderful illustrator. Your kids will be enchanted.  You can see more about Zippy at Candida’s website.

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See below for other books by Candida.

Zippy’s Big Difference is a story about
how Zippy the zebra came to
appreciate that which makes him
different from others. It deals with
the emotional struggles facing
children with disabilities and tackles
some of the tough spiritual questions
they have.

Zippy and the Stripes of Courage is a
story about how Zippy the zebra
came to accept himself for who he is.
It teaches children to celebrate one
another’s differences and to treat
others as they themselves want to
be treated.

Underneath the Scars is a journey of
emotional and spiritual healing
associated with physical deformities.
You will laugh, cry, and reflect as
Candida shares her story and the
woman underneath her scars.

And now– a Giveaway of Zippy’s Club!  Enter through the Rafflecopter app below.  Winner will be chosen Tuesday 5/27/14 and will have 24 hours to respond to my email!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of Zippy’s Club in order to write this honest review.  This post also contains affiliate links.)