11.21.2014

Giving Thanks Through Books ~ Suggestions for Parents and Children



While I absolutely love this season of the year, it is easy to get caught up in all the chaos that surrounds the preparation of a Thanksgiving gathering. I find it very ironic that in the midst of a time of gratitude and praise for all that our Creator has bestowed upon us in the past year I tend to become ungrateful and at times grumpy. 

One of the best ways that I have found to stay focused on the meaning of our celebration is to take time each day to read books that center on giving thanks. In our home we love to curl up and read so for this season I have tried to fill our reading time with books that will remind us to give thanks.

If you would like to add a few books to your reading list that center on being grateful I've compiled a list of my current favorites for parents and children.

Giving Thanks Through Books for Parents



I must admit that I was a bit late to the party on this one. I'd heard the hype but had never quite gotten
around to reading this one. I'm so glad that I finally took the time. Ann is a master at helping you see the majestic in the everyday. She shares her journey of discovering God's grace. The wonderful thing about this devotional is that through it you can't help but find God's grace in your life as well.

It is an interactive book that has a section for you to record the 1000 gifts and everyday graces that God bestows upon you. This is sure to be one of those books that you will find yourself peeking back on. Beautiful way to record your journey each day.


Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist

This book resonated deeply with me. I don't like change. At all. But of course God has used that very thing to bring about some of the biggest growth in my life. Shauna shares about dealing with that change and being grateful for the journey that God has put you on.

I love this thought from the book: "When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow." She goes on to describe the difference between bitter and sweet and the horrible place we would be in if our life only contained one or the other. She then goes on to describe how God uses both in our lives to bring about the best for us. I still don't like change, but this book has given me a whole new perspective on it.


Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet by Sara Hagerty

After reading the first chapter I wasn't sure that I would really relate to the book because it is the story of Sara's struggle with infertility and I've not experienced that. But I hung in and finished the book and I'm so glad that I did. 

This book is about so much more than infertility. I think it will speak to anyone that has ever had an unmet expectation. If you've been in that situation you know how easy it is to allow a seed of bitterness to grow. Sara is very open about her struggles with bitterness and accepting God's provision in her circumstance. It is a great book that will help you focus on the goodness of God in all situations.

Giving Thanks Through Books for Children



Who doesn't love the Berenstain Bears? As a parent you can always count on the book containing a message that your kids need to hear and apply.

In this edition the Berenstain's are on their way to their grandparents house but an unexpected snowstorm has altered their plans. Through the use of different circumstances the lesson of being thankful in all things is taught. I enjoyed the illustrations and the fun songs and poem. My grands loved the stickers!


Give Thanks To The Lord by Karma Wilson
(ages 4-7)

"The table makes a lovely sight. The food is good, it tastes just right. I savor every, single bite. I feel so full of love tonight."

Celebrate the season in this heartwarming story that references Psalm 92 in tender rhyme from award-winning author Karma Wilson. Told from the point of view of one young member of an extended family, Give Thanks to the Lord celebrates joy of all kinds, from the arrival of distant relatives to a cozy house already filled with merriment, to apple cider and the delicious smells of roasting turkey and baking pie. And just when your mouth is watering, sit down and join a thankful child in prayer, praising God for “food and fun and family, all the wonderful things I see.”


(teens and young adults)

Maybe you’ve gone to church and just not felt like you were connecting to the service like everyone else. Perhaps you have been trying to get closer to God but simply hit block after block and feel more frustrated than faith-filled each time you sit down to pray or worship. Or maybe you feel like you are doing okay spiritually, but feel you’re missing something you can’t quite define. And on top of everything else, you’re simply trying to figure out who you really are inside and what you’re supposed to be doing with your life.

The good news is you’re not alone, and you don’t have to feel discouraged. Though in the pages of The Me I Want to Be Teen Edition, bestselling author John Ortberg focuses on what makes you who you are, looking at how you spend your time, your unique experiences, your relationships, and your overall world to help you see where you are now, as well as providing exercises and quizzes that help uncover God’s plan for you and the positive directions you can now go. Find out what it can look like when you discover what the best version of you looks like, as well as the life God has always desired you to have.


(ages 9-12)

This one is set to release in December, but I just couldn't resist including it because I LOVE the original Streams in the Desert. I look forward to going through it with the grandkids. Here's what the advanced information I received on it says:

You know how tough it can be! Bad things happen that make you feel sad, afraid, lonely, or confused. In those times, you need encouragement, wise advice, and help trusting in God.Streams in the Desert for Kids is a year-long book of devotions to help you when things seem hard. Based on a famous book written many years ago, this book combines timeless wisdom with modern stories, sports info, cool scientific facts, and more.

Best of all, it shares amazing insights into God's Word from the classic Streams in the Desert in ways you can relate to, and it helps you apply those insights to your life. All it takes is a couple of minutes reading each day to help you deal with life’s difficult issues and be refreshed, like drinking a cold glass of water on a hot day.


Well there you have it friends! I hope that you will be as filled with gratitude and praise as I was after reading the above titles. May your family and friends that gather around this year be blessed by you as you serve Him!

From our family to yours . . . Happy Thanksgiving!









11.20.2014

Andi Under Pressure by Amanda Flower ~ Juvenile Fiction / Mystery Review



An Andi Boggs Novel
Juvenile Fiction / Mystery (ages 8-12)

THERE'S A LOT TO INVESTIGATE AT SCIENCE CAMP.

Twelve-year-old Andora "Andi" Boggs and her new best friend, Colin Carter, couldn't be more excited to attend the prestigious science camp at the local university in Killdeer, Ohio. Unfortunately, Discovery Camp's curriculum appears to include much more than just chemistry and biology. From day one, the university is plagued by a series of pranks such as missing markers, loose crickets, and stolen scales. Campus security blames the mysterious janitor Polk, but even though Andi agrees he's acting suspiciously, she can't believe the gentle old man would do anything illegal. Then one prank goes too far and their chemistry professor is injured by an explosion in the lab, upping the stakes of the investigation. Andi and Colin must unravel the secrets behind the chemistry department and Polk's dark past before danger closes the camp for good.



In Andi Under Pressure there is a very interesting experiment that goes awry. In the above video the author Amanda Flower does the experiment in a supervised lab so you can see how it was supposed to turn out.

My Thoughts

When I was a pre-teen I fell in love with the popular mysteries of the day like Trixie Beldon, Nancy Drew, and even The Boxcar Children. Now that I have grandchildren old enough to read we've been enjoying those old classics, but I must admit they are dated in spots.

We recently were introduced to the Andi Boggs series and it has been the answer to our outdated dilema. Andi is a delightfully precocious 12 year-old that is just brimming with curiosity. The first book in the series is entitled Andi Unexpected. It introduces all of the characters and has a wonderfully engaging mystery that the characters solve. 

In book two, Andi Under Pressure, we meet back up with Andi and her friend Colin. They have been selected to attend a prestigious science camp called Discovery Camp. They are both excited to attend but soon after they arrive mysterious things begin to happen. The curious duo quickly dive in to investigate what is going on. 

I enjoyed so much about this book. The characters are wholesome and display qualities that you would like for your children to emulate. My grands were engaged with the story and kept asking for just one more chapter. It was fun to listen to their guesses at what was really going on. If you have young mystery lovers in your life this would be a great book for them. While both of the books are related they can each be read as a stand-alone.

Connect With The Author





Disney Princess Palace Pets Royal Pet Salon Game ~ Christmas Gift Guide Giveaway



Spend a day at the spa with your pawfect companions!

Get regally pampered in the dreamy, 3D Royal Pet Salon. Move your adorable pet from room to room through doorways sized just for castle cuties. Look for posh pet products, from fancy soaps and shampoos to tiaras, collars, and sweet treats--all hidden throughout the salon! If you find something pictured on a face-up card, it's yours to keep! When the time is up, all of the Palace Pets leave the salon with grooming goodies. The player with the most wins!



Little girls all around dream of becoming a princess. One of the best friends of all princesses is their favorite palace pet. With the acquiring of a beloved pet comes responsibility of caring for that pet. If you are a princess you can do that in a very royal way.

Disney Princess Palace Royal Pet Salon Game was put together with your little princess in mind. The game is designed to encourage imaginative play with her friends while at the same time learning to be courteous to others by taking turns. 


Set-up is easy consisting of sliding together the panels and inserting them in the holder. Once the girls have chosen their pet the play can begin.

The first player sets the spinner in motion and then follows the directions for the space landed on. 


Once the spin is determined and the correct number of cards are turned over it is time to move your palace pet. The palace pet will go from room to room looking for objects on the cards. Going through each doorway is considered one move.

The princess and the palace pet will look all around the room they land in to discover matching goodies on the cards. If one of the face up cards contains an item pictured in that room you collect the card.


One of the spots on the spinner is for a clock tile. Each time you land on that space on the spinner you must insert another section of the clock. When all four sections have been added the game is over and the palace pets must leave the Royal Pet Salon.


In order to declare the winner, each princess adds up her cards and the one with the most wins!

This is such a cute game. I enjoyed playing it with some very special little girls. It was a great way for them to work on several skills while they were having fun. They had to count as they went through each doorway and then they had to be very observant while they were looking to see if any of the items were in that room. It was a complete joy to listen to them encourage each other and to give hints towards collecting another card.

The Disney Princess Palace Pets Royal Pet Salon Game is available at Toys R Us both online and in the store. Remember if you choose the site to store option shipping is free!

The Giveaway


We have partnered with Wonder Forge to offer one of our readers a copy of Disney Princess Palace Pets Royal Pet Salon Game. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents and will run through midnight on Thursday, December 4, 2014. You must be at least 18 years old to enter. The winner will be contacted by email and will have forty-eight hours to claim the prize. If unclaimed, a new winner will be drawn. The winners’ entries will be verified. Please enter the contest using the Rafflecopter form below. All entries are optional.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


11.19.2014

Devotions for Beginning Readers by Crystal Bowman & Christy Lee Taylor ~ Children's Book Review & Giveaway



Crystal Bowman & Christy Lee Taylor
Juvenile Nonfiction (ages preK - 2nd grade)

Build confidence in young readers 
as they learn about God's love . . .

A love for reading starts at an early age. And there is nothing more important or life changing for a child to read than the message of God's love!

Bestselling author Crystal Bowman and award-winning writer/producer Christy Lee Taylor have written easy-to-understand devotions that include carefully selected vocabulary geared to pre-kindergarten through second grade and are written in short sentences for beginning readers. Kids will see that they can read the devotions on their own, which will build confidence. Each devotion also includes a Today's Word to help children develop their vocabulary and a prayer that will encourage them to talk to God as a friend.

Bright, fun illustrations and engaging, positive text will help children grow in their understanding of God and how much he loves them--building a foundation for language skills and a faith that will last a lifetime.





My Thoughts

Do you have an emerging reader? Are you always looking for new ways to present Scripture to your children? Are you looking for a good way to incorporate daily devotions into your kids schedule? If you answered yes to any of those questions then I've got the perfect resource for you!

Devotions for Beginning Readers is the perfect fit for your new little reader. It is set up to introduce a new word each day and it uses that word repetitively during the devotion to solidify the knowledge of that word.

I will admit that listening to a beginning reader can be a bit taxing. But there is nothing sweeter than hearing the Word of God pouring forth from the mouth of your little one. I think I could listen to that all day, srtuggles to pronounce or not!

The Giveaway





We have partnered with Tommy Nelson to offer one of our readers a copy of Devotions for Beginning Readers. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents and will run through midnight on Wednesday, December 3, 2014. You must be at least 18 years old to enter. The winner will be contacted by email and will have forty-eight hours to claim the prize. If unclaimed, a new winner will be drawn. The winners’ entries will be verified. Please enter the contest using the Rafflecopter form below. All entries are optional.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


11.18.2014

Feast For Thieves by Marcus Brotherton ~ Historical Fiction Review and Giveaway



Marcus Brotherton
Historical Fiction

PREACHING OR PRISON--
an impossible choice for a man 
who usually solves his problems 
with a rifle or his fists.

Sergeant Rowdy Slater was the most incorrigible paratrooper in Dog Company during World War II. But after the war, when Rowdy robs a bank with the black-hearted Crazy Ake, he vows to turn his life around. The lawman, suspicious that Rowdy's confession is a sham, gives him an ultimatum: Rowdy must serve one year as the town minister, or go straight to jail. Rowdy's choice? Preaching at the community church in Cut Eye, Texas, at the midpoint of nowhere and emptiness.

At first the job seems easy, particularly since Rowdy takes over for the willowy female missionary who held the church together while the men were at war. But when Crazy Ake shows up with a plan to make some quick cash, Rowdy becomes ensnared and is forced to make a deadly choice.




My Thoughts

If there was ever a book that should NOT be judged by its cover, this would be it. From the cover I was expecting it to be more warish . . . but it isn't. In fact it is downright humorous in spots. Which was a complete surprise. 

I've enjoyed several of Marcus Brotherton's nonfiction books so I knew he was a very talented writer. But this first work of fiction really reveals that he is a master wordsmith. It is my hope that he continues to bless us with more of these tales from his imagination.

The characters in this novel are what make the whole story sing. They are quirky in a way that only small-town folks can be. There's just something about people that know each other so well that they can't stand each other yet love them at the same time. One of the elements that Marcus used in this story was area specific dialogue. I'm from a Southernish area and some of the phrases that his characters used just made me laugh out loud. That is exactly how my people sound!

Above all else that I loved about this story was the redemption theme throughout. We're never far away from falling into a pit ourselves and we should remember that when we see someone stumble. Reach out and give them a hand and help them stand up again. Sheriff Barker took a chance on Rowdy and it changed everything, for Rowdy and the entire town. 

Connect With The Author


Facebook  I  Twitter  I  Google+

The Giveaway

We have partnered with River North Fiction to offer one of our readers a copy of Feast For Thieves. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents and will run through midnight on Tuesday, December 2, 2014. You must be at least 18 years old to enter. The winner will be contacted by email and will have forty-eight hours to claim the prize. If unclaimed, a new winner will be drawn. The winners’ entries will be verified. Please enter the contest using the Rafflecopter form below. All entries are optional.



a Rafflecopter giveaway



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