Monday, December 14, 2015

An Amish Christmas Gift {Three Amish Novellas}

Amish Christmas fiction is one of my favorite genres of books to read. The stories are so sweet and have a good moral compass. I was chosen (by Family Christian) to review a new book called An Amish Christmas Gift (Three Amish Novellas) written by Amy Clipston, Ruth Reid, and Kelly Irvin.



 
 
Naomi's Gift by Amy Clipston:
 
Naomi is a sweet Amish girl who doesn't think love is in her future. Caleb is a widower with a daughter who is eager to learn the Amish ways of life. Caleb's daughter, Susie, meets Naomi at a farmer's market and the two become instant friends. Once Caleb meets Naomi he becomes very intrigued by her. He wants to know more about her. A true Christmas love story is in store for both of them as they discover how much they have in common and how much they both care for Susie. Caleb has a decision to make about his own future that could lead him away from Naomi.
 
I loved this story because it was easy to read and had an easy flow to it. I am a sucker for love stories that end well and this one is a winner.
 
An Unexpected Joy by Ruth Reid:
 
Abigail has a problem that has led her husbandless for many years. She loves talking. She gabs about anything and everything. After realizing her problem she decides she will just be single and save her money to purchase a horse so that she can sell pies in town. Her neighbor Micah's elderly grandmother needs looking after and she steps in to help. Micah notices that she just never stops talking...ever. It hits him one day that he actually cares a lot for Abigail. Instead of revealing his feelings he leaves her devastated right before Christmas. It is then that he truly reveals his feelings toward her.
 
The twist in this Amish story is that the girl never stops talking. Typically, Amish women are quiet and reverent but Abigail is opposite. That is the reason I liked this story so much. It was different that any other Amish fiction I have ever read.
 
A Christmas Visitor by Kelly Irvin:
 
Frannie is sent to live with her Aunt and Uncle in Bee County, Texas because of her love for an Englisch farmer named Rocky. Her parents send her away so that she can forget about him. Her Aunt and Uncle have good intentions when they begin inviting Joseph, an Amish boy, over for meals. They believe Frannie will forget about her love for Rocky and go for an Amish marriage. As Christmas gets closer Rocky shows up to see Frannie and plead his case.
 
This was a predictable story but very sweet nonetheless. I enjoyed it from beginning to end. Through this story Frannie and Rocky learn about patience and love and God's timing.
 
There are discussion questions included at the back of the book for a book club. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Amish fiction and Christmas stories.
 
 

*I was given this book by FamilyChristian.com in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Monday, December 7, 2015

Christmas Stocking Stuffer Ideas For The Whole Family

Every year I start brainstorming about what to put in our stockings for Christmas. This year I decided I would do a blog post with all of the ideas I have come up with for the entire family. Please feel free to print this list off and put it in your purse. Take it with you when you go shopping and check off everyone on your list.





Small Children:

Small metal cars (Matchbox or Hot Wheels)
Goldfish Crackers
Bubble Bath (These Veggie Tales Bath Toys are awesome)
Small Bath Toys
Hair Bows
Christmas Ornament (THIS one is my favorite this year)
Small Stuffed Animal (HERE are some ideas)
Board Books (HERE are a few from FamilyChristian.com)
Sippy Cup

Older Children:

Small Monster Trucks
Dum-Dum Suckers
Colored Pencils (The Twistable Ones are my favorite)
Paint Set (I like THIS set)
Doll Accessories
Themed Socks (Avengers, Disney Princess, Elmo, etc.)
Christmas Ornament
Card Games (HERE are a few ideas)
Flash Light
Reusable Water Bottle
Glow Sticks
Beginning Reader Books

Teenage Children:

Razors
Deodorant
Devotional (HERE is one for Girls and HERE is one for Boys)
Fun Socks (colorful or themed)
Nail Polish
Hair Accessories
Christmas Ornament
ITunes Gift Card
CD's (HERE is a list of Christian music that I love)
DVD's (Depending on your family's taste and guidelines, this category may vary)

Men:

Devotional (I love THIS ONE for my husband this year)
CD's
Books on CD (HERE is a list of my favorites this year)
Socks
Favorite Candy
Christmas Ornament (I was thinking of getting THIS ONE for my husband this year)
Tie
Travel Coffee Mug (I love THIS ONE for my husband this year)
K-Cups
Gloves

Women:

Chocolate (Of course!)
K-Cups
Coffee Mug (I am in love with THIS ONE)
Slippers
Panera/Starbucks GC
Christmas Ornament (I want THIS ONE!)
Earrings (Who doesn't love ARROWS?)
Christmas CD (I just purchased THIS Pentatonix one....it is the best!)
Bookmarks
Devotional (I want THIS ONE...hint, hint)
Scarf (I am loving this beautiful red SCARF)


Now, I know there are a lot of links here but I love FamilyChristian.com. They have everything you need for Christmas and more. It is one-stop shopping and it is a Christian organization that I trust. Some of these items can be found pretty much anywhere but ordering online (or you can look up your local store on their website) is so easy.

I pray you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!




Sunday, December 6, 2015

5 in 5 For Every Season (By: Michael Symon)


I love cookbooks and I love Food Network. I collect cookbooks and have so many I lost count. Michael Symon's new book 5 in 5 For Every Season (with Douglas Trattner) is a wonderful addition. I am a fan of Michael Symon's and love his way of cooking. In his new book, he goes through all four seasons plus the holidays. He uses 5 fresh ingredients plus 5 minutes of heat to equal 165 wonderful recipes for dinner, sides and more. They are all quick and healthy as well.

This book is organized by season with an entire section completely for the holidays. He has a section in the front of the book dedicated to the pantry. He lists all of the essential pantry items that he typically keeps on-hand. His use of fresh ingredients is the best part of this book. Using in-season fruits, veggies, and herbs keeps the recipe simple, delicious, and on a budget.

Some of my favorite recipes are:
  • Rigatoni with mushrooms & swiss chard (p. 20)
  • Four-egg omelet with ramps (p. 41)
  • Chicken breasts with strawberry & goat cheese salad (p. 72)
  • Breaded beef sirloin with zucchini & tomato salad (p. 82)
  • Grilled cheese with Havarti & apple (p. 116)
  • Mushroom philly cheesesteaks (p. 162)
  • Chicken breasts with bacon & brussel sprouts (p. 184)
  • Cheesy broccoli gratin (p. 216)
  • Leftover ham frittata with gruyere (p. 247)
Michael Symon includes different drink recipes as well. Some of them are alcoholic and some are not. They all sounded tasty. I am so glad I received this book. The recipes are delicious and I plan to make most of them in the future.

If you are a fan of Michael Symon's then you will love this new cookbook. Put it on your list for Christmas. It would make the perfect holiday gift.

*I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Prophecy Study Bible (John Hagee)



I have been watching John Hagee on television for a few years now. He preaches a lot about prophecies in the bible and what the future holds for those who believe in Christ and those who do not. He has recently come out with a Prophecy Study Bible (NKJV) that will help us to "understand God's message in the last days." I received a copy of this bible in exchange for my honest review.

I have not read it from cover to cover (because it takes a very long time to do that and this review would be long past overdue). I did thoroughly dig into each section and go through each of the special features. In this bible, John Hagee has written his own notes throughout to guide the reader in all of the prophecies of the bible. He answers the top questions about bible prophecy, has a devotional section, gives God's great promises, God's great salvation, gives evidence of the prophecies, gives details about God's spokesmen (those who God used to preach His messages of prophecy), biblical insights, and includes many biblical prophecy charts.

My favorite features are the biblical prophecy charts because they are so detailed. Some of the charts included are: Timetable of the Prophets, The Rapture and the Second Coming, The Tribulation, The Millennium, and so much more. John Hagee is very wise in the gift of detailing and preaching about the prophecies in the bible.

He gives many references and describes biblical events in great detail while also keeping the focus on telling the truth of the bible. I happen to love the NKJV. It is one of my favorite versions because I find it easy to read and understand. Pastor John Hagee serves as senior Pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas. He has written several other books including Jerusalem Countdown and Four Blood Moons. He is also founder and national chairman of Christians United for Israel. His passion is to teach people about Christ before it's too late.

I recommend this bible to anyone interested in biblical prophecy and biblical insights about things told to us in the bible.

*I was given this book  by BookLookBloggers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Monday, November 23, 2015

Jesus (A Little Words Matter Book)



My youngest son loves board books. He literally reads about 20 or more per day. I always try to keep Christian ones around so he can learn more about God and Jesus. I was given Jesus (A Little Words Matter Book) by FamilyChristian.com in exchange for a review. This is a short and sweet little book for young children. It is illustrated by Holli Conger.

Monkey (who is my two year old) was so excited to add this book to his collection. He had me read it to him immediately...and then about 200 more times after that. Haha. This little book has a different word on each page that describes Jesus. Some of them include: Teacher, Loving, King, Cross. Each page has a beautiful illustration that goes along with the word.

It starts off with the birth of Jesus and goes all the way through his life and ministry here on earth. It ends with an empty tomb and Jesus appearing to his disciples after His resurrection. In this book, they use a few words to tell the big story of Jesus and his ministry. He loves us so much that He died on a cross so that we could spend eternity with Him in heaven.

This would make the perfect stocking stuffer for your little one. It is a great addition to any board book collection. You could also get this for a baby shower gift to start a new parent's collection for their little one. For any occasion, Jesus (A Little Words Matter Book) is a wonderful book with a sweet story.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Amish Christmas At North Star {Four Stories of Love and Family}



I love all things Christmas! It is not a secret in my family. I also love Cindy Woodsmall. She can write Amish fiction so well it makes me feel like I am actually in the book. She has collaborated with Mindy Starns Clark, Emily Clark, Amanda Flower, and Katie Ganshert to write Amish Christmas at North Star. It is a four-part story that interlinks the characters to create a unique story with one person in common throughout. I love this kind of book because you get four stories for the price of one.

The common thread in each novella is Rebekah, the midwife who delivered four babies in North Star, Pa. twenty five years ago. Each story follows one of the baby's all grown up.

In the first story, Guiding Star by Katie Ganshert, an Englischer named Chase Wellington is investigating the disappearance of an Amish baby from twenty-five years ago. It leads him to Iowa where he finds Elle McAllister and his revelations could turn her world upside down.

The second story, Mourning Star by Amanda Flower, is about a young girl named Eden Hochstetler and the death of her friend Isaac. She is curious to find out who is guilty of his death, Isaac's great-nephew Jesse, who is also an Englischer, or someone else? I love a good mystery and this one was very well written.

Third, we have In The Stars by Cindy Woodsmall. Kore Detweiler is in love with Savilla Beiler but her feelings are not of love. She rejects his love and thinks she will never see him again. A phone call from far away sends Kore and Savilla back together again. They must help one another in a crisis and just may find love in one another after all.

In the fourth novella, Star of Grace written by mother-daughter duo Mindy Starns Clark and Emily Clark, Andy Danner leaves North Star to join a new Amish settlement in Mississippi.His little brother plans to bring him home for Christmas to reunite with his one-time love Nellie. The two were meant to be together but can they get past their differences and move into a future with love?

I definitely enjoyed reading this book and it got me ready for more Christmas reading. With the holidays coming up I would add this to my list to give away to someone who loves Amish fiction.

*I was given this book by Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Prayers That Changed History {By Tricia Goyer}



Tricia Goyer is an award-winning author who has written many books in her life. Some of them are: The Promise Box (which I reviewed a while ago and loved), Mom's Night Out (they made a movie out of this one), and The Big Sky Series (an Amish fiction series). She is well known for her Amish Fiction writing and loves giving advice about being a Christian (and what that means). I have so many of her books and now I can add one more to the shelf. Her newest book, Prayers That Changed History, is geared more toward a younger crowd, maybe 13-17. But, I enjoyed reading it very much as well.

In this book, Tricia Goyer gives us a brief history lesson about each person/prayer. Some of the prayers include those from:

  • St. Patrick of Ireland
  • Martin Luther
  • John Eliot
  • Catherine Booth
  • Billy Sunday
  • Helen Keller
  • Mother Teresa
  • Corrie ten Boom
Each chapter is a different prayer. She begins with who said/wrote the prayer and a little bit about them. There is so much history in this book. I learned things I didn't know. My favorite story was about Mother Teresa. I sure wish I would have gotten to meet her. What a woman of God! After an introduction to the person and a brief history she gives you the exact prayer they said/wrote (and it is highlighted in gray so it is easily found). She then goes on to talk about how the prayer changed history and what it meant to the world at the time it was said/written. Finally, she gives examples to back up the prayer from the Bible.

I found this book very easy to read and understand. This could easily be used in any setting as it is very family-friendly. For instance, you could use it as a devotional for family dinnertime. Reading about a person and their history as well as how they made a positive contribution to God's Kingdom is a wonderful way to start or end a day. It also gets children asking questions about the person who said the prayer. It may lead to a trip to the library to find out more about each person. But, I found myself digging into my Bible to find the passages that pertained to each prayer and highlighted them so I could easily find them.

I recommend this book to those young and not-so-young. There is always something to be learned from a good book and this is definitely a good book. Tricia Goyer has never left me unhappy after reading her works.

*I was given this book by BookLookBloggers.com in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Living The Braveheart Life {Review}



Have you ever heard of the movie Braveheart? How about The Man In The Iron Mask or Pearl Harbor? Perhaps you have even heard of Secretariat or Heaven Is For Real. All of these wonderful films came from the mind of one man: Randall Wallace. I have seen most of these films and read the books as well. I was given a copy of his newest book, Living The Braveheart Life, from FamilyChristian.com in exchange for a review. I was very pleased to be chosen for this review since I am a huge fan of Randall Wallace.

He wrote this book as a memoir about how he made his dreams come true. Twenty years ago when the movie Braveheart came out and became a box office hit, he had no idea it would be that big. He tells the story about the journey that led him to the famous Scottish warrior William Wallace and how it changed his life forever. It is written in small, short stories that blend together to create HIS story. He gives advice about engaging in the battle going on in the human heart. A battle of good versus evil.

Randall Wallace's story is one of adventure, struggle, and conquering fear. He reflects on his childhood, family, and faith in God. The emotions and honestly in this book are beyond what I expected. I laughed and cried. He really got me thinking about what I wanted out of my life and how I can make my dreams come true as well. He inspired me to look deep into my heart and seek out my faith and what that means for my life.

I highly recommend this book. Living The Braveheart Life will bless you in so many ways. It will cause you to dig deep and reflect on the wounds that have caused you to press on or give up. We all have something that has hurt us. This book guides the reader to follow your heart and keep being strong in any circumstance.

Pick up a copy for yourself and be inspired by one man's journey of following his heart and making his dreams come true through all of the trials of life.

*I was given this book by FamilyChristian.com in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Bill & Gloria Gaither Christmas Favorites Cd {Review & Giveaway}




I love the Gaithers. My in-laws got me hooked and now I enjoy listening to them so much. They are a Gospel singing group that has been around for many years. They invite other Gospel singers to tour with them and they pack entire arenas full of people wanting to hear old hymns and new songs laced with God's word. I was so happy that I was chosen to review their new Christmas music CD with all of their favorites included.

Their CD is called Bill & Gloria Gaither with their Homecoming Friends Christmas Favorites. You can find it on FamilyChristian.com. Here is a run down of the songs included:

  • Joy To The World
  • White Christmas
  • Mary, Did You Know?
  • Go Tell It On The Mountain
  • O Little Town Of Bethlehem
  • The Christmas Song
  • Jesus, What A Wonderful Child
  • Beautiful Star Of Bethlehem
  • O Holy Night
  • O Come, All Ye Faithful
  • Away In A Manger
  • Silent Night, Holy Night
Some of the featured artists include David Phelps, Terry Blackwood, Larry Ford, Amber Thompson, and Amy Lambert. These are all wonderful artists with so much talent and love for the Lord. Every time I hear a Gospel song by the Gaithers and their friends, I get a warm feeling. It is like God is giving me a hug. When you add in Christmas music, the songs take on a whole new meaning.

My opinion of this Christmas CD is...I LOVE IT! Please, go out and buy one right away (unless you feel like winning one at the bottom of this post!). My husband has deemed track #3 his favorite (that would be Mary, Did You Know?). We played this CD over and over. My three children (all boys who are 7, 5, and 2) danced and sang along. They declared that we should go ahead and put up the Christmas lights. Ha! I think we will wait a little longer for that.

If you love Gospel music and the Gaithers and Christmas music, then you will love this CD. My whole family enjoyed it and I am pretty sure it will get played so much we will memorize every single harmony. It has really made this coming Christmas even more special for us because it lifted our spirits. Please visit FamilyChristian.com to find out more about this wonderful new Cd.

Enter to win your very own copy of the Gaither Christmas Cd below:


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I was given this CD by FamilyChristian.com in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own..

Monday, October 19, 2015

Galaxy Buck: Mission To Sector 9 {Review & Giveaway!!}


From the creator of Veggie Tales comes Phil Vischer's latest Buck Denver adventure. Galaxy Buck: Mission To Sector 9 is a must-see for children of all ages. My little ones are 7, 5, and 2 and they all loved this new movie. This movie will be available for purchase starting on October 20th so don't miss out on your chance to own it for your family.

Buck Denver put together a team to go into space (Sector 9) to fix a transponder. It is sort of a spoof about Star Wars or Star Trek (which I absolutely love...I am a nerd). He wants to do something "Big" for God and fixing this transponder will help others to have access to the Good News of Jesus. When he arrives on the planet (that is supposed to be uninhabited) he meets a man who teaches him all about God's plans for our lives.

Buck learns that walking with Jesus is the most important thing in life. The way we know we are walking with Jesus is by the "fruits of the spirit" found in Galatians. We must learn to hear God's voice and be obedient to what He wants us to do. If He puts someone in our path we must do everything we can to help them. That is showing God's love to others.

This movies explains how a relationship with God works and what it looks like. Buck thinks he must do something extraordinary in order to serve God but the man he meets on Sector 9 explains that all Jesus really wants is us. He wants our whole heart.

All three of my boys laughed and enjoyed this short film. The puppets are amazing, as usual. Phil Vischer does a great job of explaining doctrinal and theological ideas on a child's level. My children asked questions afterward and told me the things they learned while watching this movie.

The movie is approximately 40 minutes long so it holds a child's short attention span. It covers topics such as missionaries, fruits of the spirit, God's plan and purpose for our lives, and how to truly know you are walking with Jesus. I highly recommend this movie and plan to purchase it for my children for Christmas.

Just in case you can't wait until you buy the DVD, this movie is available on JellyTelly right now.

Here are a few links to help you with any information regarding this and other films like it:







To enter to win your very own copy of Galaxy Buck: Mission To Sector 9, please fill out the Rafflecopter below! Good luck!!


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Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Monday, October 5, 2015

Ties That Bind {By: Cindy Woodsmall}



I have an obsession with Amish fiction. I especially love it when that Amish fiction is written by Cindy Woodsmall. She is one of my favorite authors and has such a love for the Amish community. She lovingly tells stories about their lives and makes it accessible to everyone else in the world. Her new book and the first in the series The Amish of Summer Grove, Ties That Bind, is such a wonderful and delightful book to read. There are twists and turns and events that keep you on the edge of your seat...and it's all in a book.

Ariana Brenneman is the main character. Her story is so unique and full of so many plot twists. Her life in the Old Order Amish seems normal to her. She has aspirations to open a café to help support her family. But, someone in her life wants to lure other Amish people into the English lifestyle. Are his plans to help her or bring her harm? She wants to find out and when she does it is the biggest surprise of all.

Her family has kept secrets from her that Quill Schlabach wants to reveal. Will he be successful or will he be stopped before the truth comes out? No matter what Ariana does, Quill keeps showing up in her life. This time, he has information about her family's secrets and how that could affect her in the long run.

I love everything about this book. The Amish lifestyle is explained very well. Sometimes when you read Amish fiction it can be confusing. Cindy Woodsmall does a fantastic job walking the reader through every part of the Amish life and explains why they do what they do. Since she is so connected to the Amish community she has "insider" information and knows the ins and outs of their day-to-day life. I highly recommend this book and look forward to the sequel.

I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

A Christian Guide To The Classics {By: Leland Ryken}




I absolutely LOVE reading the classics. Canterbury Tales, Edgar Allan Poe, The Pilgrim's Progress, anything by Jane Austen, and so on. My love of books came from reading the classics when I was younger. It gave me a good foundation for reading and they all have great vocabulary. But, as a Christian I tend to read them with a different viewpoint. Leland Ryken's new book, A Christian Guide To The Classics, helps to break down these books (and other written materials) from a Christian worldview. He expounds on the greatness of the classics while also being realistic in that we shouldn't read them just because they are considered "classic". I received this book from Family Christian for review purposes.

The author gives the reader step-by-step instructions on breaking down exactly what a "classic" is and how to read them. He gives many examples from great historical authors and includes a sampling of different literary classics from many different genres and time periods (page 94-98). At the back of the book are a few quotes by famous classical writers about reading and books. It was fun to read what some of them had to say about books.

Here are the chapters listed in order:
  1. Misconceptions about the Classics
  2. What is a Classic?
  3. Why We Should Read the Classics
  4. The Greatest Classic: The Bible
  5. How Not To Read a Classic
  6. How to Read a Classic
  7. Christian Classics, Part 1
  8. Christian Classics, Part 2
  9. Secular Classics
  10. Where to Find the Classics
I found this book to be helpful in many ways. First, I really didn't know what the definition of a classic was. Mr. Ryken writes in a way that I could understand and make an educated decision when at the library picking out books to read. Second, I never thought about the fact that there are "Christian" classics and "Secular" classics. He writes about the difference between these two and also how to tell a true "Christian" classic from one that masks itself as Christian. I enjoyed reading that section of the book because so many authors call themselves Christian authors without even thinking about if their work is actually Biblically sound and can be tested by scripture. Third, I love the lists of classics that he gives toward the end of the book. I kept looking for lists of classics and he kept me turning the pages until the end. It was a great strategy to get me to read the entire thing.

I have a home library because I homeschool. Not that you have to homeschool to have a home library but we do because of that reason. Over the years I have collected many books. After a while I got to a place that I would only buy books that were considered "morally sound" and/or a classic. Earlier this year I went through all of my books and weeded out the "twaddle" books and am left with plenty of books still. With this new book, A Christian Guide To The Classics, I feel fully equipped to buy great books and literary works in the future to add to my collection.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves books. You will learn so much about the different styles of classics and what a true Christian classic really looks like.

Friday, September 18, 2015

5 Minutes With Jesus {By: Sheila Walsh}


Sheila Walsh is one of my favorite authors, speakers, and singers. She is a Scottish- born Christian and loves Jesus more than anything. She has written many books including How To Be God's Little Princess, God's Mighty Warrior Series, God Loves Broken People, and the list goes on. I love her style of writing because it is honest and open. Her newest book, 5 Minutes with Jesus, is no exception. She has poured her heart out in this book so that the reader will be able to know the importance of spending time with God each day.

Sheila Walsh explains how we are busy people. So busy that sometimes the most important things in our lives get put on the back burner. Our time with Jesus each day shouldn't be one of those things. If we give Him even just 5 minutes each day it will be life-changing. God wants our hearts. He wants our time. He wants our prayers. In this little, hardback devotional you are given just that...5 minutes with our Savior.

In each devotion, you will find a powerful story. She tells stories from her life and from those who are in the bible. Her way of writing is vulnerable and captivating. There is also a takeaway section that gives you a small quote from the devotion that you can use to remember what you have read. Then there are scripture verses from the bible that go along with each devotion to give you God's insight about each subject.

The 5 minutes you spend with Jesus reading this devotional each day will be powerful and inspiring. It will help you get through your day with His word hidden in your heart. I know as a busy mother to three little boys (that I also homeschool) I have a hard time carving out just a few minutes to myself. I even have a hard time going in the bathroom without someone banging on the door. But, I have learned that if I get up a few minutes before my children (they know not to get out of bed until 7am) I can get those first few minutes of time in with my Lord.

It is so worth it to me. I highly recommend 5 Minutes with Jesus for your devotional. No matter where you are in life or what is going on, taking time with God is the most important decision you will ever make.

*I was given this book by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.*

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Praying The Bible by Donald S. Whitney (Review & A Giveaway!)


Praying is one of those things that many of us do not know how to do naturally. I have struggled with prayers since I became a Christian when I was 16. I have studied many books and the Bible. I have also listened to many sermons and speakers about this subject. Finally, I was gifted this book by Family Christian for review. Praying The Bible by Donald S. Whitney is a fantastic book about how to pray using only scriptures.

Praying using only scriptures seems easy enough but there is more to it than opening your Bible and saying the passage. It's about finding the right passages and using them to glorify God in our prayers. This little book is hard bound and very simple to read. It can be read in an afternoon while sitting under a shade tree on a quilt. It opened my eyes to a whole new world of praying.

Praying The Bible starts off with The Problem with how we currently pray. We get side tracked very easily, we become robots just saying what we always say, we get tired and bored. Then the author brings us The Solution. He writes about what we can do about the problems to have a more satisfying prayer life. Finally, he writes about The Method in which you can obtain this new and profound prayer life.

In the later part of the book, Donald Whitney gives examples of praying the Bible. There is a chapter on Praying The Psalms, Praying Other Parts Of The Bible, and so on. I love to pray the Psalms. It is one of my favorite ways to pray and with the help of this new book I am able to communicate with God better.

I absolutely loved reading Praying The Bible and I know you will too. That's why Family Christian has allowed me to give one away to a reader on my blog. Please enter to win a copy for your very own home library below. Blessings to you in your prayer walk!


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Monday, August 24, 2015

Things Not Seen {A Review & Giveaway}




I know you have all probably heard of the website desiringGod.org. I go there often to look up sermons and read articles pertaining to current events with a Godly perspective. Jon Bloom is the cofounder and president of desiringGod.org and the author of Not by Sight: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Walking by Faith. His new book called Things Not Seen gives you a fresh look at old stories from the bible and the promises that God has made to us.

You can read this as a regular book with short stories in it or as a devotional like I did. I have an obsession with devotionals. I just love them because you can get your time in with God and feel refreshed for your day in a short amount of time. Things Not Seen gave me hope and a new perspective about what the Bible says about God's promises and trusting Him.

Jon Bloom goes through 35 Bible stories and retells them very creatively. He captivates the audience by giving each story a real life feel. Sometimes it is hard to relate to some of the stories and people from the Bible but this book allows you to get a closer glimpse of what life would have been like in that time and how it can relate to your life now. Each story comes with the actual Bible passage and then a retelling from Jon Bloom's perspective.

Some of the stories that are retold in this book are:
  • Abraham and Sarah and what to do when facing the impossible.
  • Moses and the feeling of inadequacy when facing trials.
  • Mary and Martha and who you really serve.
  • Joseph and his brothers and extending grace to all.
  • Judas and the love of money.
  • Gideon and why God does give us more than we can handle.
  • Samson and how weakness can make you strong.
I devoured this book when I received it for review from Family Christian. I have used it for my daily devotions and even read a few of the passages to my children and husband. It has opened up conversations and had us asking questions. We searched the Bible for our answers and as well looking in our hearts to seek God's peace and wisdom.

Family Christian is gifting one of my readers with a copy of Things Not Seen by Jon Bloom. Please enter below for your chance to read this book for yourself.


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Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Berenstain Bears' Harvest Festival {Review}


I just adore a good Berenstain Bears book. The newest addition to the collection is also a Living Lights book. It is called The Berenstain Bears' Harvest Festival. It is full of hope, love, and God's beauty.

The whole family is out helping in the garden on the first day of fall. The children are noticing the new changes such as the colorful leaves and the squirrels gathering nuts. Mother suggests they go to the Harvest Festival at their neighbor's farm where their church congregation will be also.

As they walk along the road on their way to the festival they all see how beautiful God created the fall season. The colors, the animals, and even the insects. When they arrive at the farm the children see all of the wonderful vegetables and fruit that have been growing for the fall season. There are apples, pumpkins, and corn stalks.

The festivities begin with apple picking and pumpkin picking. They soon take a hayride around the farm where they see all of God's wonderful creations. They end the evening with a big harvest meal and a prayer from their pastor.

It is such a delight to read a book to my children that is focused on God and seeing God in all things. I love Berenstain Bears book and always recommend them to anyone with children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, students, etc.

This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Crash The Chatterbox by Steven Furtick {Review}


Crash The Chatterbox is a new book written by Pastor Steven Furtick. He is the founder and lead Pastor for Elevation Church based out of Charlotte, NC. It has grown to about 10,000 people in attendance per week. Steven Furtick has written other books (Sun Stand Still and Greater), which became New York Times best-sellers.

Honestly, Crash The Chatterbox is one of the best books I have ever read on the subject of hearing God's voice above all the worldly noise. I could not put this book down. I read is very quickly because it was easy to read and it kept me saying "Amen!" the entire time.

The author refers to all the voices in the world that tell you anything different from God's word as the "Chatterbox". He also refers to Satan as the "Chatterbox". I love that he used hashtags throughout the book. It helped me to be able to promote the book easily.

Here is some more info about Steven Furtick:
  •  "Steven Furtick is the founder and lead pastor of Elevation Church.

    In just under seven years, Elevation Church has grown to more than 10,000 people in weekly attendance, meeting at seven locations in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. Elevation has been named one of the fastest growing Churches in America by Outreach Magazine for each of the past six years.

    Pastor Steven has been privileged to minister to a global audience, speaking at conferences and churches around the world, including Catalyst Conference, Hillsong Conference, and the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit. He is the author of the New York Times best-selling book, Greater, and the nationally acclaimed Sun Stand Still.

    Pastor Steven holds a Master of Divinity degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

    He and his wife Holly live in the Charlotte area with their two sons, Elijah and Graham, and daughter, Abbey."
Here is more about Crash The Chatterbox:
  • “I used to think that someone who struggled with the kinds of weaknesses I deal with daily was useless to God. I felt so often like I was drowning in internal dialogue I couldn’t control. It had been the soundtrack of my life for as long as I could remember.

    Yet everything changed when I began to realize God has given us the ability to choose the dialogue we believe and respond to. And once we learn how, we can switch from lies to truth as deliberately as we can choose the Beatles over Miley Cyrus on satellite radio.

    This is the key to pressing ahead and doing God’s will anyway, even as you are bombarded with thoughts, feelings, and even facts about why you can’t do it.

    I’m now awakening to the reality that we can access the power of God’s promises to constantly crash the system of our broken beliefs. I’m learning how to overpower the shouts of the Enemy by bending my ear to the whisper of God’s supernatural truths about my identity in Him and His strength in me.”
    -STEVEN FURTICK, from Crash the Chatterbox
     
    Includes discussion questions for individuals or groups.
    Inside your head and heart is a chatterbox. Its lies are keeping you from realizing your God-given potential. But what can you do about them?
     
    The Voice You Listen to Will Determine the Future You Experience

    In Crash the Chatterbox, Pastor Steven Furtick focuses on four key areas in which negative thoughts are most debilitating: insecurity, fear, condemnation, and discouragement. He asks, “What great deeds are in danger of remaining undone in your life because of lies that were planted in your past or fears that are looming in your future?”

    With personal stories, inspiring examples, and practical strategies, Pastor Furtick will show you how to silence the lies and embrace the freeing affirmation of God.

    Learn how to live out God’s truth no matter what is going on in your life or thoughts.

    Learn how to crash the chatterbox…and hear God’s voice above all others."
Knowing how to hear God's truths over Satan's lies takes a lot of practice, prayer, and bible knowledge. I felt God leading me, through reading this book, to quit listening to anyone and anything (including my own thoughts) if they do not align with the bible. One of my favorite quotes is "My joy is not determined by what happens to me, but what Christ is doing in me and through me." (pg. 170) That is such a powerful statement. I am going to type it up in bold letters and laminate to put above my desk in the school room.

Another of my favorite quotes is found on page 184, "Don't let what you expected keep you from what God wants you to experience. God has plans for you that you know nothing about right now. That means He may take you down paths that seem to lead to nowhere. Believing God means assuming that He is always working, even when our faith and prayers and love don't seem to be working at all. Realizing this opens our hearts to accept what God has allowed in each season of our lives without being overtaken by discouragement..." (emphasis my own). These are very important words and we should dwell on them.

I HIGHLY recommend this book. I will be gifting this book to others who may be struggling to hear God's voice above the crazy noise of the world. Please go out and buy this book. It will change your spiritual and mental life. I am already speaking more positively to myself and of myself.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Monday, August 10, 2015

A New Adventure For The Three Amigos & School Room Pics


It has been such a wonderful summer so far. I have participated in the HEAV (the homeschool convention for my state) as a blogger and met some amazing ladies. We have gone to the beach, pool, local parks, had and gone to a few birthday parties, and celebrated 11 years with my Hubby. Over the course of the summer I have also reorganized Jensen Family Academy and redecorated it. I will share a few pics at the end of this post.

I also wanted to share the new about our new homeschooling adventure. The Three Amigos will be starting Classical Conversations (CC) in just a few short weeks. Last spring I was invited to attend an Open House held at my home church for Classical Conversations. Throughout the Open House, my children were able to sit in on the lessons and I was able to observe the lessons as well. We all fell in love with this method of learning. All three of my boys enjoyed it very much.

We will meet once a week for 24 weeks throughout September through April for Classical Conversations Day. I will then teach them the other 4 days from home using the same method and lessons. CC has equipped me to use certain materials to teach my children classically. All subjects are covered including Latin, Geography, History, English, Science, Math, and so on. The children will also be learning about art and artists, music and orchestra, and learn to play the tin whistle. We couldn't be happier with this decision.

CC's motto is "To Know God and Make Him Known". That means to learn about God for ourselves and to learn how to tell others about Him as well. CC is a Christian-based program and that was the number one thing that I look for in any homeschooling curriculum. I will be sharing our CC journey throughout the school year. I hope you will join me back here in the weeks and months to come. I will also be doing a blog post in September about our Beach Vacation to the OBX that we are taking in a few weeks. It is our first vacation in 11 years!! I am way too excited!!

Jensen Family Academy Pics:














Thursday, August 6, 2015

Luther And Katharina By: Jody Hedlund {Review}


I recently received an advanced copy of Jody Hedlund's new book Luther And Katharina. It comes out in book stores at the beginning of October. I love historical fiction especially when it involves religion. This book was wonderful. It is full of love, passion, betrayal, and rebellion.

Martin Luther was involved in the front lines in the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. He is the man who wrote the 95 Theses refuting much of what the Catholic church believed. He is famous throughout history for giving people a different way of practicing biblical principles and the Lutheran church was named after him.

Katharina von Bora was a nun born of noble decent. She had lived a quiet and spiritual life in the Abbey until she read Martin Luther's 95 Theses. It changed her whole life and spun her world upside down. She decided to leave the Abbey and search for Luther.

Martin Luther wanted to live by his convictions and not involve anyone else because of the danger he found himself in quiet often. Because of his beliefs he was looked down upon and was wanted by many officials. Katharina fell in love with him and their journey together is one of great risk.

So many things got in the way of their love but in the end love won. I truly enjoyed reading this book. The history throughout and the love story sprinkled in made it such a romantic book. Going against all odd Luther and Katharina found love in the hardest of places and in the worst of circumstances.

Luther And Katharina is one of Jody Hedlund's best books yet. She has written many books including A Noble Groom and has won many awards for her writing. Her focus is on historical fiction that involves women and a love story. Just my kind of book!

You can find out more about Jody Hedlund on her website http://jodyhedlund.com/ . There are excerpts from her books as well as information about herself and her blog. Check it out for yourself.

I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Dad's Devotional Bible {Review}


I have been on the hunt for a good devotional bible for my husband for some time now. I finally came across this NIV Dad's Devotional Bible (with notes by Robert Wolgemuth) on the BookLook Bloggers website for review. I quickly grabbed it up and my husband has been enjoying it ever since. I am so glad that I chose this bible for my husband.

About the Author:
  • Robert Wolgemuth graduated from Taylor University (Biblical Literature) and received an honorary doctorate (LhD) from the same university in 2005. He is the author or coauthor of over twenty books, including Men of the Bible, The Most Important Year in a Man’s/Woman’s Life, and the notes to the Dad’s Bible. See website: http://robertwolgemuth.com
About the Book:
  • A trusted source of wisdom to help men learn how to be the type of fathers God wants them to be, this Bible provides a full year of weekday devotions along with other helpful study features.
    Filled with challenging and helpful information, the NIV Dad's Devotional Bible helps dads become fathers who honor God, live faithfully, and love their families-men whose lives will build priceless family legacies for generations to come.
    With 260 down-to-earth devotions, one for every day of the work week, as well as quick book introductions and seven insightful "Building Your Children" articles, author Robert Wolgemuth will lead readers through the blueprint of godly fatherhood. And with a helpful "Questions Kids Ask" index in the back, the hardcover NIV Dad's Devotional Bible will equip dads with the tools they need to be great fathers.
My husband is such a great father to our three boys. They are 2, 5, and 6. Believe me, we need all the help we can get. We tend to lean toward God's word for our parenting advice. The bible gives us everything we need to know about parenting. God has fully equipped us to be good parents and has commanded us to raise Godly children who grow up to serve Him.

I loved that this bible has devotions all throughout. They coincide with the bible verses that it is near in the bible. The devotions include a passage for the day, verse for the day, and a short story/devotion. The devotions can be read in about 5 minutes each day and the verses take about 5 minutes as well. So, for 10 minutes each day you can spend time with God and read His word.

I recommend this bible to all dad's or dad's-to-be or, even, grand-dad's. Leaning on God's word for your daily dose of advise and biblical point-of-view is the most important thing you can ever do. Taking time to sit quietly with God and soak in His presence is such a wonderful feeling. I pray that this bible will encourage and help someone in their walk with the Lord.

This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Inn At Ocean's Edge And A GIVEAWAY!!


A visit to a luxury hotel for a business meeting turns into the biggest mystery of Claire Dellamare's life. The secrets from her childhood come back to haunt her and in the midst of figuring out what happened to her during the missing year of her childhood she finds love in the most unlikely place.

Colleen Coble's new book The Inn At Ocean's Edge (the first in the Sunset Cove novels) is riveting and exciting. It keeps you on the edge of your seat. I could not put this book down (I read it a week of evenings). I felt like I was an onlooker in the book of all of the events that took place. It is a must-read if you like murder-mystery books with a side of romance.

In this book, Claire Dellamare is the main character. She and her family are very wealthy and own a jet line. A merger meeting with another company is about to take place on the island of Folly Shoals, Maine. The Hotel Tourmaline is so extravagant and beautiful. Though Claire has never been there before it seems very familiar to her before she even steps foot in the door. Her father is very surprised to see her there and it becomes very evident that there are reasons he didn't want her to come to the meeting on this particular island.

Claire's life gets turned upside down and sideways when she meets a local man named Luke Rocco. He tells her a secret about her past that even she did not know. After questioning her parents about this latest bit of news she finds out that the year she went missing on this very island is also the year that Luke's mother went missing.

Just when I thought I had the mystery figured out Colleen Coble comes back with another surprise twist. This was one of my favorite books of all time to read. It was fun, adventurous, romantic (but without all of the sexual stuff), and fast paced. It made me want to visit this island. It made me come to truly care about the characters and their lives. It left me wanting to know more about the others mentioned in the book. Thankfully, this is the first in a new series by Colleen Coble. I can't wait until the next one comes out!

Family Christian was so gracious to choose me for this review. On top of the book, they also allowed me to host a giveaway for a $25 Gift Certificate to their store. How awesome is that?? Please enter below on the Rafflecopter!



I was given this book by Family Christian in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

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Friday, June 19, 2015

HEAV...These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things!



I am still on a high from the HEAV Homeschool Convention last weekend. Honestly, it was exhausting but in a very good way. I woke up this morning and actually wished I could go again this weekend. So, I decided since I can't go again this weekend I would just write a blog post about all of my favorite things about the convention. There were so many vendors and speakers and exhibitors that I have quite a few. But, I whittled the list down to my all time favs (in no particular order).

1. The Widows Friend- Paula Zitzman comes to the convention every year. With her, she brings beautiful hand-sewn and hand-stitched items. This organization provides opportunities for widows and orphans living in poverty in Bangladesh to earn money to provide for their families. This organization includes many other ministries including The Women's Center, Tongi School For The Deaf, FOB Girls Hostel, Clinics, Home Of Joy (an orphanage), and so much more. The items that are brought to the convention include scripture texts sewn on to table runners, pillow covers, frame-able items, and handmade jewelry. I just love this ministry because the money goes straight to the person who made the item for sale. They get half of it up front and half goes into a bank account. For more info email Paula Zitzman at psalm16.6@bcglobal.net.

2. Queen Homeschool Supplies, Inc.- I use Queen Homeschool Supplies for some of my curriculum for homeschooling. It is a Charlotte Mason style curriculum that is easy to use and uses the Bible as the basis for all of its books and materials. I did an interview with Sandi Queen a while back and you can check it out HERE for more info. Her booth is always a favorite to visit because I can actually look at each item before purchasing anything.

3. Good Steward Books- This booth always has wonderful products including Christian t-shirts, Christian books at a low price, and CD's and DVD's that won't break the bank. I stop by and grab a new shirt for each member of my family as well as an Odyssey CD for the kids and a book for myself. Right now they are running a special on their website, if you spend $25 or more you get Free Shipping.

4. The Young Entrepreneurs- I love visiting with the young people in this section of the exhibit hall. This year there were so many homemade items and each one has a story behind it. I've bought books written by homeschoolers, games, etc. This time I purchased a crocheted head band with a flower on it at the Hooked On Blooms booth and a couple of crocheted hair scrunchies at Us Girls. These young ladies (at both booths) were so delightful and sweet. What a blessing to get to know them personally.

5. The Neely Team Marketplace- As a Blogger for HEAV I received a warm/cold wrap from them called a Thera-pit-tics pac. It is a microwaveable heat wrap that is filled with cherry pits. It can also be put in the freezer to be used as a cold pack. They sell many therapeutic items such as candles, music, books, and more. I have used my cherry pit filled wrap many times and it is wonderful!! Thank you so much!

6. Laurelwood Books- I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting the owner of this company Mary Ellen. She specializes in selling homeschool books, classics, and educational items. She has written quite a few books including Patriotic Penmanship books for all levels including a transition penmanship book from print to cursive. They are beautifully written and the copy work includes bible verses and quotes from our fore fathers. She has also written Latin Readers for beginners. These include the story of The Three Little Pigs, The Tortoise And The Hare, and more. In it, Mary Ellen gently leads the student into Latin by introducing each letter and the sound it makes and then the story is written in English and then in Latin with the English translation beside it. These are wonderful books. Visit her website for more info and more products.

7. The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation- I live in Williamsburg so I stopped by to chat with Winette (the lady who was running the booth). She is a lovely lady and gave me lots of info on upcoming events and gave me her info so I can stay up to date on the latest news about Colonial Williamsburg. For more info go to colonialwilliamsburg.com and let your historical adventure begin!

8. Happy Heart Children's Book- I recently wrote a blog post about this wonderful lady and her book HERE. Michelle Marttila is such an inspiration and her company is wonderful. Yes, I know I said wonderful again but she really is so sweet. Please check out her new book Happy Heart for yourself. The story is a moral one and there are bible verses included.

My overall experience at the HEAV was refreshment and rejuvenating. I had the best time and absolutely cannot wait until next year!!

 



Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Happy Heart Fill 'Er Up! {Review}

Last weekend I was honored to attend the HEAV Convention as a Blogger. You get to meet and greet all of the vendors ahead of time. Some of them give you samples of their products or tell you about a giveaway they are having. It is such great fun to meet these wonderful people and get to know them and their products. I had the pleasure to meet Michelle Marttila who is an author and artist. She has written a book called Happy Heart Fill 'Er Up! It is a children's book with a biblical perspective.


Michelle was the sweetest person. She put her heart and soul into this book and has a passion for teaching others about God and His love for us. The book is meant for young readers who want to find lasting joy. In Happy Heart, the character feels empty and  tries to fill that void in his heart with many different things. He tries, sports, money, fame, and friends but nothing seems to last. He feels sad after each one of those things comes to an end.

Finally, the Heart finds true joy in Jesus and His word. This book is meant for children but it pricked my heart. I look for joy in so many things. The only One who can give me lasting joy is Jesus. No matter where I go or what I do, He is the only One who is there for me no matter what. His love is the greatest. His love is everlasting.

At the end of the book are several bible verses to guide you in your walk to find true joy. She ends her book with a prayer to accept Jesus and the joy only He can bring to your life. No matter your circumstances, He is always there with you.

Michelle Marrttila did a wonderful job writing and illustrating Happy Heart. She is a graduate of Liberty University. She has served as Dean of Women for Student Affairs at Liberty University for eight years. She loves to teach children about art in a home school co-op. Her gifts are amazing and are being used to spread the Good News of Jesus.

You can find out more about Michelle Marttila and her book by visiting:


Please visit her website and purchase her book. It will bless your children and family. 






Devotions From The Garden {Review}


Taking time for yourself to soak in God's presence and His word is hard when you have little children. For me, I have to make an effort to get up early in the morning and have my quiet time before the kids get up. That's why I love devotional books. They give me the lift I need in the midst of chaos and clutter. Devotions From The Garden is the perfect addition to my devotional collection. Miriam Drennan came together with Thomas Nelson to create this beautiful devotional book to encourage people with God's word.

I love just sitting in my garden and listening to the birds sing and the bees buzz and soak in God's beauty. This devotional is the perfect addition to my time in the garden. The themes throughout the book are all garden related. Some examples are: Soil Testing, Grace In The Garden, Fruit Trees, Watersheds, The Mustard Seed, Container Gardening, Herb Gardens, Sowing To The Spirit, Thanks For The Harvest.

The pictures are so beautiful. They consist of flowers, trees, produce, fruit, and gardens. The colors are almost life-like and I loved reading every single page. The book is hardbound and comes with a built-in ribbon bookmark. The theme is "Finding Peace and Rest From Your Hurried Life". I recommend this devotional book to any person looking for some quiet time among the loud and crazy life of having "littles".

No matter where you are in your walk with the Lord, we all need and crave to have time with Him. He is the Maker and Creator of the universe. We aim to please Him in all areas of our lives and giving Him a few minutes a day is just a small thing we can do to become closer to Him and more like Him. Devotions From The Garden gives you that lift for your day and includes a bible verse for each day. This is an uplifting and encouraging book that will bless you.

This book was given to me by Book Look Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own. 

No More Excuses Diet {Review}


Maria Kang made headlines with her rocking body after having three children. Her philosophy is that there are no excuses for you to be unhealthy. In her new book The No More Excuses Diet she explains what she does and what works for her as well as the research behind it all. I chose this book for review because I have tried many different diets since having my third son and nothing has worked. I want something that sticks and isn't hard to follow.

Many women (and men) struggle with body image, especially after having children. Your body isn't the same and your metabolism changes. Things you could eat before turn straight to fat after. Maria Kang explains what to eat, when to eat it, and what it does for your body. She gives examples of meals that give you the best ingredients for a healthy diet.

I felt motivated throughout the book and tried many of her suggestions. She says that it takes "3 days to bust any excuse, 3 weeks to easy new eating habits, and 3 months to total transformation". She is an amazing woman and very inspirational. I felt that she put her heart and soul into writing this book and she is very passionate about women's health.

Maria also gives plenty of tips for exercising the right way. There is a wrong way to exercise. If you have ever been pregnant you body changes. You can't just simply jump right back into an exercise routine. Her exercise plans are easy and there are step-by-step directions with pictures to go with them. They were easy to understand, although some of them looked very difficult for this beginner.

I plan to continue using this book and implementing the ideas and strategies to keep myself on the right path to a healthier me. I want to be healthier for my children and husband and Maria Kang is helping to support that plan with her book The No More Excuses Diet.

I was given this book by Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

CTC Math {Review}

CTCMath Review


My two oldest sons love math. They are each excelling in their grade level and they are always counting everything (money, days of the week, people at the park). I am so glad I have the opportunity to review CTC Math and their 12 Month Family Plan. This is an online program only with levels starting at Kindergarten and going all the way up to Trigonometry and everything in between. I was given the 12 Month Family plan for the purposes of this review.

I am not a math wiz by any means. I actually excel in reading and history. I need all the help I can get when it comes to teaching my children their math skills. CTC Math does a phenomenal job at guiding my children through a gentle way of learning math. Though my children already loved math before this program, they would beg to do their math lessons each day. They love their “computer” time and learned a thing or two about math in the process.

The 12 Month Family Plan includes unlimited access to all lessons across all grade levels, video tutorials that allow you to pause and replay, detailed progress reports, timed speed skills, and quizzes at the end of each lesson. The Family Plan is for the whole family. You can enroll all of your children as well as yourself (you know, for those hard to understand calculus problems). I love this program.




How CTC Math Works:
  • First, the parent logs in and creates a separate account for each student with their own password.
  • The parent can choose which level they believe their student should be on. There are many different skills to choose from on each level. Then select the skill your student will be working on and begin the lesson.
  • There is a short video for each of the lessons/skills that explains in detail how to solve a problem.
  • After the video (in which you can pause and replay if you need more time), several questions are asked (I call these “quizzes” because it tests their understanding of that skill).
  • The results from the “quiz” are posted in a report after it is taken and the parent can view these reports at an time. If the student needs more practice with that particular skill they can re-do the quiz.
  • At the bottom of the screen you can view the reports for each skill and student. You can also click on the “Speed Skills” button to see how well your student knows the skills on a timed level. It is actually pretty neat and my kids loved being timed. They would compete to see who was faster.
  • After each level is completed to the parent’s satisfaction (or has been mastered), the student can move up a grade or level.


What We Liked About CTC Math:
  • I loved how easy this program was to use. It couldn’t be simpler. You create an account for each student and off they go. The directions are easy to understand (my children who used this program are 4 and 6).
  • My children could sit by themselves and complete their lessons and quizzes. If they needed help understanding something they would ask for my help. The only help they ever needed was reading the questions for the quizzes (the program assumes that your child can read and neither of mine can read yet).
  • The quizzes help my children to gain more confidence in their math skills and they were often so proud of themselves for accomplishing a new task. They did not dread doing this math program at all and were quite excited each day to complete their lessons.
  • My children loved the timed “Speed Skills”. They are competitive boys and would see who could finish the most in the time allotted. They didn’t complain if they “lost”, they just said they would do better next time. It was fun for them.
This online math program is a great addition to our homeschool. I feel very blessed to have been a part of this review and plan to continue use even after the review is over. My husband even got involved and would sit with the boys and watch them do their lessons. He was impressed with the amount that the children learned from CTC Math.

I recommend this to any homeschool family who would like an easy to use online math program for the whole family. There are so many levels that your student can learn as fast or slow as they would like. It is a wonderful program that would help anyone with improving (and learning new) math skills.

For more info please visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ctcmath


CTCmath Review


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