Friday, December 28, 2012

Growth Chart Ruler

 I finally got a Pinterest idea off my board and into real life a few weeks ago!
 Unfortunately, this was the best picture....
We stained a 1x6 6 foot length of Poplar and then I marked off the lines with black Sharpie.  The numbers I did by printing off the size and font I wanted and then tracing them with a pencil overtop the wood so that it left an indent  in the wood.  I then filled it in with the Sharpie and finished it with some poly clear coat.  We marked it with the sharpie and let my daughter write her own name.  

This was so simple and so much prettier and more durable than a paper growth chart (and more portable than marks on the door casing!).

The original site I pinned from is here. I also had pinned from here, but apparently its not a tutorial; if you don't want to make your own, they sell them though I believe. 

Handmade Christmas 2012

So L's big gift this year was a new princess dress... I'd like to say NEVER AGAIN, but last time I said that I ended up making TWO more...!  It turned out great but took a lot of time.

Presenting... Princess Belle!
The bodice ended up a bit long, so I may tack it up for now.  All the ruffles make the skirt so pretty, and my favorite part is the shirring- the gold panel in the front. There is also one in the back, and this allows her to pull the dress right over her head.  No velcro or other closure needed!  It will grow with her as well! I did skip a few details, like the swoop accent on the skirt and the poof around the shoulders, but I think it's "Belle" enough for a play dress!

I used the tutorial from Homemade Toast. I definitely won't make a princess dress without the shirring again! It's definitely worth the time investment! I have fabric for a Rapunzel dress as well, but wanted her to try on Belle before sewing it up.  We'll see when I get to that one...

Monday, November 12, 2012

More book reviews...

This Scarlet CordThis Scarlet Cord by Joan Wolf
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book, The Scarlet Cord. It is a fictional account of the life of Rahab, the "Harlot" from the Old Testament. While one has to remember that it is a novel and not inspired Scripture, it is an interesting peek into what the story behind Rahab's life and choice to help the Israelite spurs may have been. I really felt that the author spent a great deal of time researching the book and making it feel authentic and truly believable. I love that she thought outside the box with the storyline, giving a picture of a young, beautiful girl in the wrong place at the wrong time. While the subject matter of the Israelites slaughter of the Canaanites is difficult, the author does a nice job of presenting it in a believable and inspiring way. She gives a short discussion of this at the end of the book and also of the research and fictionalization of the story of Rahab. Excellent book and highly recommended.

I received  a copy of this book from the editor in exchange for my honest review. 

View all my reviews

Against the TideAgainst the Tide by Elizabeth Camden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this book! It follows the main character of Lydia, an orphan who finally finds herself settled in a job she loves as a translator with the Navy. While there she comes in contact with Bane, and takes some extra translating work from him in order to save money to buy her apartment which she's come to love.  Eventually of course, the playful verbal sparring between the two leads to love and adventure!  While Bane loves Lydia, he's sworn off marriage due to a vow to destroy the man who kidnapped him into a life of opium selling. The chemistry between the two is well-written and the adventure/mystery is engaging, creative and well-done as well. While it is a Christian book, the faith aspect is rather low-key, and interestingly done as it is Bane (the underhanded rogue) who is the Christian and Lydia who has not had much interest in religion.  This was an excellent book and I very much recommend it!

I recieved a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. 

View all my reviews

What Your Husband Isn't Telling You: A Guided Tour of a Man's Body, Soul, and SpiritWhat Your Husband Isn't Telling You: A Guided Tour of a Man's Body, Soul, and Spirit by David Murrow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is a very interesting and open take on understanding your husband.  The author (wisely) states that not all men are the same of course and in light of the book he must generalize, and that's good to keep in mind as you read.  My favorite line of the book? "Men are just like big toddlers."  Cue laughter from all the women, along with vigorous head nodding.  Anyway, he backs up his ideas with research and cultural and historical information.  Some of it merely backs up what I have heard before, and other parts make my eyes bug out! I would love to read this with my husband and get his perspective; it would definitly make for an interesting couples study (if you can get your husband to do that!). The main parts of the book go through helping women understand his body, soul and spirit, and the last chapters of the book offer some practical advice on "freeing" each of those sections (body, soul and spirit). I really appreciate and recommend this book, and it will be one that I reread occasionally to make sure I am taking care of my husband's needs.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review.

View all my reviews

A Hidden Truth (Home to Amana, #1)A Hidden Truth by Judith McCoy Miller
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A Hidden Truth was a well written book about Dovie, who goes to visit relatives in the Amana Colonies where her recently deceased mother was from. She goes looking for information about her mother's past as she would not share about it with her.  I enjoyed this book, especially the peek into the life in the Amana Colonies, a group of villages where the people have chosen to live communally, sharing in the work and gains.  While parts were similar to the Amish, they are actually very different and I found the historical aspect of the community fascinating.  I enjoyed Dovie's transition into the community as well as her search for her mother's past, though it did seem a bit anti-climatic at the end. It was an enjoyable read and one I would recommend.
i recieved a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

View all my reviews

If We SurviveIf We Survive by Andrew Klavan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book was a fast adventure read.  I enjoyed the story of the small short-term missionary group caught in a country just as a rebel group overthrows the government.  It is written for a young adult audience and for that audience, is an excellent book, though there is violence, and the main character shoots and kills a rebel in self-defense.  As an adult, I felt the characters were a bit over the top, especially the 22 year old Meredith, who appears to be completely unafraid of the rebel leader threatening their executions.  I had a hard time believing her character, though I understand what the author portrayed through her.  I also had a hard time believing a group of high schoolers and a 22 year old would be sent with one leader to lay a block wall. What high schooler knows how to do that? I doubt that the average high school reader would worry too much about these items and would enjoy the action and adventure of the book.

I recieved a copy of this book for review from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

View all my reviews

Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day: Learn the Basics Of: Islam Buddhism Hinduism Mormonism Christianity and Many MoreUnderstanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day: Learn the Basics Of: Islam Buddhism Hinduism Mormonism Christianity and Many More by Garry R. Morgan
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
If you are looking for a brief, fairly academic synopsis of various world religions, then this book is for you.  "Understanding World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day" does just that- gives you a fairly easily readible chapter on religions such as Christianity, Roman Catholic Christianity, Eastern Orthodox, Native American religions, Africal traditional, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Islam (several chapters on different aspects), Christian Science and Scientology, Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc.  I believe my main problem is that I expected something different.  I was hoping for a book from a Christian viewpoint discussing religions' differences to Christianity and how we can relate to them from an evangelistic standpoint.  In fact, it is exactly what the title says.  The basics of many world religions.  It wasn't at all what I wanted and i honestly found myself struggling to keep my attention on the reading. If you are looking for an explanation of "key beliefs, histories and practices" (as the back cover states), then this is it, as the chapters are definitely manageable. The book is well-written and researched.

I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher Bethany House for my honest review.  

View all my reviews

Tangled AshesTangled Ashes by Michele Phoenix
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a great book. Its a novel set in a castle in France with a historical mystery!  The book centers on the (seriously flawed) character of Beck, alcoholic, angry, and basically out of control. He goes to France to renovate an old castle for his business and while there, begins to work out some of his issues thanks to Jade, the owners' children's nanny, who has some issues of her own.  I appreciated the honesty in the characters' struggles and the fact that Jade, while the Christian character of the book, is not a perfect, sweet, Bible touting Christian girl, but a woman struggling with her own issues and a snappy attitude to boot! She does talk about faith with Beck, but you don't feel like that's the reason for the novel as you might in some other Christian lit. The modern story of Beck and Jade is interspersed with chapters of the history of Marie and Elise, 16 year old French girls working for a Nazi "baby factory" which was housed in the castle.  There are some strange happenings around the castle and a semi-mute, reclusive old man squatting in the gatehouse thrown in as well. While I wanted more at the ending, I love that the author kept it realistic and intelligent; it was much more satisfying that a lot of sappy romance based books. I would definitely recommend this book to those looking for a great, clean (historical) mystery.

I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review.

View all my reviews

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sew your own leggings!

I had the chance to test a pattern for Andrea at Go To Patterns, a site with lots of downloadable patterns for men, women and children.  The one i got to try out was the Go To Leggings Pattern. (Use my affiliate link here or click on the ad on the sidebar to use my link!)

I love that there are so many options!  Just look at that list!  

We chose to do the peekaboo leggings. Once your pattern is printed, cut out and taped, these come together SO quickly!  The waistband elastic is such a simple method (one I'll be using again!). These are simple enough for a beginner project.

Disclaimer: my pictures are awful. Super quickies... and I was lazy and didn't put on the bows yet... :) and don't mind my daughter's crazy hair... anyway...

 I love the way the peekaboos look on capris (as in the designers photo), they do get a bit lost on the longer ones, at least until she gets a smidge taller.  And plus she keeps trying to use them as stirrup pants.... is that coming back around or just in her head?!

Below is the option with the attached skirt and capris.  I love the way these patterns are sized, there is so much room for them to grow. She definitely will be able to wear these for a few years.  

One of the things I love best about sewing clothes?  These outfits cost me 29 cents and 58 cents respectively! (Plus thread and elastic- unless you too save elastic you cut off your husbands old boxer briefs before they go out with the trash...) They are upcycled from clothes I found at our Goodwill which has sales on certain tag colors. 

Depending on how you cut, you can save a little work by using existing hems (which i did on this striped skirt and leggings above)! 

At first I wondered if I would be able to fit a pair of leggings- but it worked!  the flowered ones above are from a size large womens shirt. And for the longer pair, I used a knit nightshirt.  You can always find knit pants or dresses to reuse as well. 

I would definitely recommend this pattern! With so many sizes and options, it will last you for many years to come! Check out her shop for this and other patterns!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Book Review: Twelve Unlikely Heroes

Twelve Unlikely Heroes: How God Commissioned Unexpected People in the Bible and What He Wants to Do with YouTwelve Unlikely Heroes: How God Commissioned Unexpected People in the Bible and What He Wants to Do with You by John F. MacArthur Jr.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Twelve Unlikely Heroes was an interesting read about people God used in the bible.  I liked that the people chosen were not always the typical ones you would have expected. While several were well know and "obvious" others were ones that I definitely had not expected.  The author does a nice job of giving more information about the characters in the story and explaining how God used them.  While I didn't LOVE it and it took me a while to read, I did enjoy the extra background info on the characters and would recommend it.  Its a good reminder of how God uses imperfect people, and thus can even use me!

I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher for my review.

View all my reviews

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Undaunted: One Man's Real-Life Journey from Unspeakable Memories to Unbelievable GraceUndaunted: One Man's Real-Life Journey from Unspeakable Memories to Unbelievable Grace by Josh D. McDowell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a wonderful book about the life of Josh McDowell, Christian author and speaker.  The book starts with mcDowell's difficult childhood as he dealt with an alcoholic, abusive father, sexual abuse, and the destruction of his family.  It tells of his scholarly attempts to disprove Christ's resurrection and subsequent transformation as a he believes in Christ and becomes a Christian.  I loved the rest of the book as well, as it talks about the ripple effect as so many people are saved through his witness and the witness of those he led to Christ.  This is a great story to remind the reader of the Power of God through just 1 person.

I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Book review: Unashamed to Bear His Name and Unstuck

Unashamed to Bear His Name: Embracing the Stigma of Being a ChristianUnashamed to Bear His Name: Embracing the Stigma of Being a Christian by R.T. Kendall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was an un-apologizing book on the basics of faith in Christ.  I was worried when I started it that I wouldn't agree with a lot, but found that there were few things I didn't agree with.  Which worries me some about what churches are teaching new believers now-days.  The book is an excellent presentation of what our belief in Christ biblically entails, including (and focusing on) those uncomfortable parts (that are apparently left out of much teaching now) including those topics like hell and being looked down on for our faith.  I think this is a good next step for a believer who is fairly new and ready to take the next steps to a deeper understanding of their decision.  It doesn't sugar coat at all what it means to be a Christian, so probably is not for the brand-spanking new.  And for those who've been Christians for a while and are taught by a Bible Teaching church, it may not be a lot of new information, but it is a good reminder of our beliefs and definitely are worth reading. The author uses examples from his own life to discuss the idea that we should be privileged and honored to suffer for Christ. People may (and will) look down on us, but Christ will use those times to develop our faith and bring us to a new level with Him.

I recieved a copy of this book for the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

View all my reviews

Unstuck: Your Life. God’s Design. Real Change.Unstuck: Your Life. God’s Design. Real Change. by Arnie Cole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a great book on a theme that I struggle with myself.  It is about getting ourselves out of that spot in our Christian faith where we feel stuck; far from God, distant from our faith, and unable to move forward with Christ. The book is full of research and is well-written for those who need more than inspirational words. The authors discuss their research that supports their main premise for becoming "unstuck": "engaging" in scripture, not only by reading, but taking the time to hear from God as well.  They discuss the importance of two-way communication with God, not just whipping through obligatory Bible reading time or church time, but really taking the time to talk with God and hear from Him.  The book includes prompts at the end of each chapter for daily engagement, and if you go to the site they recommend at the end of each chapter, more in-depth daily guides are available for download as pdfs.  They also offer a forty-five free trial (for those who purchase the book) to their service in which a counselor gives you a customized plan for your personal spiritual growth and also get phone calls, emails or texts to encourage your growth.  I did not try this service yet, but enjoyed the book and am looking forward to downloading the prompts and working through them. I recommend this book for any Christian who feels like they are stagnant in their faith.

I recieved a copy of this book from the Publisher for my honest review.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

E's school bag!

My oldest son E (with C-ACC) went for his first day of school today at the intermediate units 3-5 classroom.  Sniff Sniff.  He needed a bag for his cup, snack, diapers, tubes, etc, so I decided to sew him a little bag.  I first had planned on a backpack, but switched it to a little messenger bag, the perfect size for his school needs.  
 I gave it two elastic topped pockets inside, currently holding diapers and wipes, and sunscreen. And lots of room left in the main part for burp clothes, extra clothes etc. 

 There are 2 front pockets as well, currently for his G-tube necessities.  

 And the standard full back pocket that carries his folder for notes from the teacher or therapists.  

I attached one side of the strap with snaps, (which will hopefully be long enough!) to give me some flexibility with the length. I want to be able to hang it around his stroller or wheelchair (which we don't have yet) so i figured I may need to shorten it, especially if (WHEN!) we get to the point where he can carry it around himself.  

I am in love with the size and  how it turned out and may need to whip up another for a dedicated diaper bag- right now, a huge purse takes care of both, but I have been wanting something different.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Book Review: Crater

Crater (A Helium 3 Novel)Crater by Homer H. Hickam
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

"Crater" was an enjoyable adventure/sci-fi book. The story takes place on the moon where settlements have been established as people on earth ("earthians") need the Helium-3 found in the crust for an alternative energy source. Crater is a miner who is chosen due to his honesty and mold-ability for a secret mission that he accepts, even though it is not fully explained to him.  The book follows Crater on his adventure as he travels with a group of truckers as a scout through a solitary road and his dangerous encounters with the various peoples along that road. I enjoyed this book as I enjoy sci-fi where the author gives a perspective on what the earth (or in this case, the moon) may be like in the future.  It was a young adult book, so is not very graphic though there is some violence.  The ending was a bit strange however... a lot was tied up very quickly and the package, though made out to be some hugely important thing that people were dying for, didn't really seem all that important. So while it was an enjoyable ride, I wish the ending had been a bit different.  Even so, I would read the following book in the series when it is published, and would recommend it.

I recieved a copy of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

View all my reviews

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Book Review: Call of a Coward

Call of a Coward: The God of Moses and the Middle-Class HousewifeCall of a Coward: The God of Moses and the Middle-Class Housewife by Marcia Moston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The book Call of a Coward: The God of Moses and the Middle-Class Housewife by Marcia Moston was an excellent book.  I read it in an evening because I enjoyed it so much!  The book details Marcia, her husband Bob, and their daughter Lily's call to serve the people of a small village in Guatemala.  It begins in their comfortable life in New Jersey and follows their struggle to follow the call to missions, their time there, and their return home.  I lived in Central America in Honduras (right next door to Guatemala) for several years and the author's stories really struck home with me even though the timing was much different as well as the fact that they were in an extremely rural area and I lived in one of the two largest cities in HN. Despite these differences, so much made me laugh and remember experiences in my own journey. The author has an easy, humorous writing style and does an excellent job of relating her experiences and struggles.  I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to see the world outside of our small bubble and especially to anyone considering moving to Central America as a peek at both the difficulties and the joys.  Though she definitely doesn't push missions as necessary for every Christian, it made me want to think about missions in my family's future.  Again, this is a great, short read that will make you laugh, be grateful for the little things, and maybe even shed a tear or two.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Book Review: Serpent of Moses and Almost Amish

Almost AmishAlmost Amish by Kathryn Cushman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book had an interesting premise but the writing just didn't grab me. The characters seemed rather extreme and many things that happened seemed unrealistic. For example, the character of Susan is always grumpy, a super perfectionist, and completely blind to what is happening in her life. Yet somehow, Gary is attracted to her? There are also inconsistencies with the supposed filming. At certain times they are so worried about what the cameras will film and other times it seems that no one is filming. And again with Susan: she is embarrassed to be I front of Gary in her pajamas but not worried about the rest of the country on tv? There were just too many little quirky inconsistencies for me. It did definitely do its job of making me think about how I'm using my time and about what is important to me. If you generally enjoy Christian fiction and aren't too picky,  you will probably enjoy this book.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

View all my reviews

Serpent of MosesSerpent of Moses by Don Hoesel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an enjoyable archaological mystery following Jack as he finds an historical artifact and is subsequently kidnapped by others after the same artifact!  The story tells of his journey through the aftermath of his find and also follows two other sets of characters, his girlfriend and her brother and a ex-CIA friend as the attempt to follow in his footsteps in order to help their missing friend.  It is a well written, wholesome adventure, and while it is a "Christian" book, the faith aspects are not overwhelming so would  be excellent for any adventure reader, including non-Christians and younger readers. The character's faith definitely influences his decisions at the end in a somewhat surprising conclusion. I did not realize until later that this is the sequel to another novel, Elisha's Bones, though it is quite obvious through the novel that some rather large events had occured before, and they do influence the progression of the novel.  However the author does an excellent job of sharing what is necessary without retelling too much. I was satisfied with this book (didn't feel like I missed out) and yet am interested in reading the first book to get more of the story. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys adventure and mystery without all the unnecessary violence and language of mainstream novels.

I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review.

View all my reviews

Friday, August 3, 2012

Book Review: Your Heart's Desire and Building Family Ties

Your Heart's Desire: 14 Truths That Will Forever Change the Way You Love and Are LovedYour Heart's Desire: 14 Truths That Will Forever Change the Way You Love and Are Loved by Sheri Rose Shepherd
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Your Heart's Desire by Sheri Rose Shepherd was an excellent book for Women at any point in their relationship. She discusses different themes of marriage and married life including a chapter on raising your son to be a man of God. Each chapter includes a related bible verse, a love letter "from our groom", a prayer, questions for small group discussion and a QR code that links to the authors thoughts on a related question. I really appreciated the author's writing style as she shared the ideas of the chapter intermingled with stories and examples from her own marriage and from the bible. She honestly shares from her own panful experiences. The ideas in the book really spoke to me personally as she discusses how we should respond when we aren't  happy with our husband's leadership and/or actions and how. We can lift up and support them instead of tearing them down. I also liked that at the end of the book she shares "chapter highlights to hold on to" and summarizes very briefly the main point of each chapter. I think this is an excellent book for married women as well as for singles as they prepare for their future relationship.

I received this book from the publisher in return for my honest review.

View all my reviews

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Building Family Ties with Faith, Love and Laughter by Dave Stone is another excellent book. This one focuses on helping your family to become a strong, joyful example of Christ in our family life. It's another book with simple useful tips that we all need reminded of along with real life examples from his on family. He discusses being joyful as a family, serving, filling your home with laughter, loyalty, etc. I really appreciated his chapter on loyalty, on teaching the family that what happens at home stays at home and that we should have each others backs. It's so easy to over-share with friends and laugh at our siblings (or parents!) instead of keeping it in the family and supporting and watching out for each other. I would recommend this book as one parents should keep handy and refer to frequently!

I received this book from the publisher in return for my honest review.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

book review: Love in Disguise, "Moonblood" and Submerged

Love in DisguiseLove in Disguise by Carol Cox
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thought this was a great wholesome novel with enough mystery to keep my attention and not too much cheesy romance or faith tossed in. I love well written Christian novels (though previously read too many that were just poorly written vehicles for sharing christianity). I love that you don't have to worry about the language or finding other inappropriate material.  The author writes well, and developed an interesting story and characters.  It was a quick read, but satisfying.  My only criticism would be that it is a smidgen unrealistic that the strong christian man would fall in love with the flouncy Jessie who is in every kind of place she shouldn't be and talking to all kinds of unsavory characters.  But I did enjoy it and would recommend it and definitely be willing to read more by this author.

I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

View all my reviews

MoonbloodMoonblood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Moonblood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl was an enjoyable read. It is a fantasy story about Prince Lionheart and Rose Red and other funcharacters such as Eanrin, the poet who is a man bit also a cat! There is a great deal of symbolism in the book, I felt, taking our Christian beliefs and expressing them through his fictional adventure.  There are "dragons" who are humans who have been changed into scaly dragons due to their choices and who can be saved by belief and repentance to the Prince of Farthrestshore. There are themes of repentance and sacrifice as well.  The names are a bit over the top but the story was enjoyable. I didn't realize until I had finished that this was the third in a series so I don't think it is necessary to read the others first, though I imagine they do help one understand the places and characters more. I recommend this book to those who  enjoy fantasy.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

View all my reviews

Submerged (Alaskan Courage, #1)Submerged by Dani Pettrey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Submerged by Dani Pettrey was an excellent book. It was suspenseful with an interesting historical mystery, romance, and faith. Though a "Christian" novel, it was not cheesy or poorly written as some tend to be. I thought it was well written and researched. Several characters are strong Christians who discuss their faith but one doesn't feel like the novel is just a method of pushing Christianity. While it is the first of the series, it definitely has a satisfying conclusion and stands on it's own. It is obvious who the next novel will be about but don't feel like you have to run out and buy it to feel fulfilled.  I would definitely recommend this book to readers who like suspense and mystery (and even romance without it taking over the book!)

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Book Review! Raising Your Kids to Love the Lord

Faithful Families: Raising Your Kids To Love the LordFaithful Families: Raising Your Kids To Love the Lord by Dave  Stone
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I Loved this book!  There is honestly not much in it that is new and earth shattering, but it is one of those books I think I will keep and reread regularly to make sure I'm on the right path in our parenting journey! The main points of the book are so simple with regards to raising your children to be faithful; things like be an example, prayer, reading and memorizing scripture, etc.  However, it was well written and an excellent reminder of our role in our children's lives as Christian parents.  The author reminds us of our great responsibility in raising our children and with examples from his own family life as well as other families discusses what we can do to fulfill that responsibility.  It is not a long book, but is a lifechanging book for me.  I love that he emphasizes the importance of the husband and wife's relationship as a role model for kids, and he includes an entire chapter each on the importance of the mother's role, and the father's role.  I had recently been looking for some Christian parenting books to get myself back on track with regards to discipline, and laughed and hit myself on the forehead (duh!) when he sums it up in one word: Consistency! While there is that small part on discipline, the majority of the book focuses as the title says, on raising our children to love God.  This book is definitely staying on the home screen of my Nook, and I may just have to buy stacks of them to add to baby shower gifts!  I will definitely be rereading and hopefully finding more by this author.

I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Book Reviews: My Own Worst Enemy and The Messenger

My Own Worst Enemy: How to Stop Holding Yourself BackMy Own Worst Enemy: How to Stop Holding Yourself Back by Janet Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm really liking this book, My Own Worse Enemy.  Now to be honest, I don't really feel like this subject is something I struggle with. That said, I really enjoyed the book, the author's style of writing, and her perspective on the stories of women in the bible.  She intersperses her own journey with stories of other women she has worked with and stories of women in the bible within each chapter. That was my favorite part of the book,  reading her comments on each Biblical woman and her story. She brings out cultural bits that I'd never known or thought about.  Even if you don't struggle with holding yourself back, I would recommend it as a Bible study.

I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher for review.

View all my reviews

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 This book was historical fiction set when the English were trying to keep control of the rebelling colonies in America. I enjoyed the book and would recommmend it as an easy fun read.  The main character Hannah is a Quaker, though she struggles with some of the beliefs and decisions. Her twin brother, who joined the rebels, is captured and the family refuses to visit or help him as that is the position taken by the Quaker church. She is unable to abide by this decision and with the help of another colonist, Jeremiah, gains access to visit him in exchange for carrying messages to the prisoners in hopes of helping them escape.  It was enjoyable and I appreciate reading books that help bring history alive as this one does.  While not overtly Christian, Hannah does struggle with her Quaker faith, and though Jeremiah doesn't profess Christianity, he shares some thoughts with her that show his spirituality.  There is no over-used romance in the story either, which I appreciated as well, as i don't really enjoy romance books. A fast worthwhile read.

I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

book review: Crazy Dangerous

Crazy DangerousCrazy Dangerous by Andrew Klavan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a fairly fast moving teen level book that I enjoyed as an adult. It follows teen Sam Hopkins' journey through several bad choices and there consequences which then lead him to save the girl and the day! The first part of the book seemed a bit unrealistic to me, as the "bad" gang at school quickly does an about face and, rather than beating him up, takes him into their group, shows him where they stash cars and teach him how to steal cars as well. There is some violence in this book, as he is beaten up several times and someone in the book is murdered. However it does use these situations as teaching moments to make good choices. It was a good read with a fairly surprising ending!

I recieved a copy of the book from the publisher in exchanger for my honest review. 

View all my reviews

Monday, April 30, 2012

Fabric Cash Envelope System Wallet

I was reminded recently I never got around to posting photos of my second attempt at a wallet for the cash envelope system...

 There are zipper pockets on both sides of the outside (I added 2 to mine, one on each side, one would probably be enough). It closes with a button and elastic.

Here you can kind of see how I constructed it. Both sides of the main piece (the part laying down on the couch) have 3 envelopes each for cash, and the piece I am holding in the picture has slots for credit cards on one side (last picture) and more envelopes on the other.  Those could easily be interchangeable (i.e. both sides for credit cards (though if you are truly a Dave Ramsey fan, you probalby don't want to carry them anyway... my husband and are I cheaters!), or both envelopes, depending on how many you want to have. My wallet currently has 6 on the main piece (so if this is enough for you and you don't want credit card slots, you could omit the center all together) and 3 on the inner piece with 8 credit card slots. 

As you can see, I goofed a bit on my measurements due to extra thickness with interfacing... so my inner piece is a smidgen wider than the outer piece, but I  plan to fix that on any others that I do... As for labeling the envelopes, I've planned to either use fabric glue, little rectangles of muslin and a fabric marker, or possibly printing out my categories on fabric transfer paper... haven't really gotten around to that part yet... 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Book Review and GIVEAWAY!!

Giveaway is over! the winner is 

Shannon! Thanks!

I'm so excited I get to do a little Giveaway on my teensy tiny blog! But first the review...

As One Devil to AnotherAs One Devil to Another by Richard Platt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was a nod to C.S. Lewis's Screwtape Letters. It is written in that style, of a mentor demon to his nephew trainee who is on his first assignment. It is interesting as a fiction account, but even more so as a thought-provoking look at how Satan attempts to pull us from God! Many different areas are looked at, including our pride and ambition, television, internet, among others.  It definitely made me think about how these things (internet was especially convicting for me!) pull our focus from God and make it easier for the devil to do his work, as we lose our "real" connection with people in exchange for a false sense of community.  The only negative I have is that I just finished it up a few minutes ago and am confused about the ending; I feel like I need to go back and reread since I must have missed something... But I would definitely recommend this book!

I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review.

View all my reviews

The publisher has graciously provided me with a free copy for someone! (well actually, a certificate for a free copy, redeemable, I believe, wherever this book is sold!) 

Just leave me a comment below telling me what your favorite book is to enter! (one entry per person, US addresses only).

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Book Review: Your 100 Day Prayer

Keep an eye out Tuesday for another review and a GIVEAWAY!!!

Your 100 Day Prayer: The Transforming Power of Actively Waiting on GodYour 100 Day Prayer: The Transforming Power of Actively Waiting on God by John I. Snyder
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I haven't worked through the whole book yet, but have actually to start over and follow through ever day! But I have done enough i feel for a review. I really appreciate this book due to some circumstances in our family life, and the idea of deliberately focusing on an issue in prayer daily is exciting! I'm not sure that this book is quite what I expected but it is still a valuable tool I'm excited to put to use!  The book contains short devotionals of about a page each, and a prompt to prayer encouraging one to focus on an area or idea, such as dealing with the shock of the request one is praying for, or asking God to reveal what He is teaching through the circumstance.  I like that each devotional is short, allowing you to do it quickly in the morning and continue to pray and meditate on the idea through the day. It is short enough that it can be a supplement to an additional study without being overwhelming. There is a space for notes for each day as well. I'd recommend this book if there's a request (and who among us doesn't have something?!) that you need to truly focus on and bring to the Lord.

I recieved an e-copy of this book from the publisher for review.

View all my reviews

Friday, March 9, 2012

Recipe Organization

I have been (attempting to) follow along with the 52 Weeks of An Organized Home Challenge. I won't say I've done every challenge, but I have done most; the one I was most excited about was this one: Organize Recipes and Cookbooks. What I really like about this challenge is that every week, she send you an email with the challenge, and suggestions of different ways to complete it.  I had been planning to make up a recipe binder for all my paper recipes- I have magazine pullouts, recipe cards, cookbooks, ideas on the computer, Taste of Home magazines... so confusing when I know i have a recipe and can't remember where it is!  I'd always seen recipe binders and thought it was the best option.  But in the challenge, she included a section on digital organization and mentioned Evernote

I LOVE IT.  I'd heard of it before but for some reason had decided against using it (just in general, not even thinking of recipes). When she suggested it as an option, I went back and revisited. It is an amazing program and it is FREE!  

You can get an Evernote app for almost anything- I have it on my computer, Nook, and I-Pod Touch. So you can access it anywhere.  

The sidebar is where you can see your "notebooks"

As you can see, I'm not only using it for recipes, and haven't even begun to really use it as I hope to.  But you can see above that you can create sub-groups of notebooks, such as my "RECIPES" group above. Below I have all my categories.  And within each notebook, it looks like this.
On the far left, is the sidebar I have already shown you. The next row is all the Notes within the chosen Notebook. You can see I have chosen the "Main" notebook to show you.  So the second row has all the recipes I have collected so far within the Main category.  As you choose it, it shows up in the view box.  You can edit, add tags, comments etc.  This recipe was taken from the web using the Evernote clipper, which is amazing!  You can snip out any part of a webpage you want and put it in evernote! The program automatically records the URL in case you need to easily find it again.  This all is made even easier by the Evernote Clearly tool, which gives you a screen with just the article, no buttons, ads, etc. This makes for non-distracted reading, but also is a super easy way to clip just what you want from the page. The purple lettering above is  my note after making this for dinner!

Now to menu plan, I've begun to use the "recipes to try" notebook.  There are several super easy ways to change the notebook of an item; you can grab the item from the second row, where the notes are listed, and pull it to the notebook you want, or you can click on the upper right of the note and change it from a drop down menu. So I pull recipes I want to try into the notebook, and put them back as I'm finished.  

Recipes I have already typed out on the computer (I had been attempting to do nice recipe cards) can just be copied and pasted into a note. You can pull in pictures if you have them, add pdfs, links to other recipes and tons of other things I've not even discovered.  

I have been loving that I can pull things up on my ipod or nook (since we only have one computer, its nice to not need it for a recipe). And since our internet is spotty, it is amazing to have all these on the computer, but also backed up to Evernote's site. I don't have to worry about losing them if our computer crashes! And I've found on my ipod that if I connect to the internet and open a note, its then available there as I need it, internet or no!

Another amazing thing about Evernote is the search function. It can search within things you've typed, things you've clipped from the internet, pdfs, almost anything!  So if I have some avocados I need to use up, all I need to do is search for "avocado".
Obviously, I need some more avocado recipes, but get the picture?  I'm not even positive I need all the separate category notebooks with the search and also the tags (categories, like you can do with your pictures). But they are there for now...

According to the Evernote site and blog, people are using evernote to organize their entire lives.  Financial information, tax preparation, trip planning. Its amazing.  

My goal is to be able to get rid of all the paper recipes I have floating around.  I plan to scan in all my magazine pages (apparently there is a "scan to evernote" app for some printers that I haven't been able to set up yet that makes it so easy), copy and paste all my typed recipes, and clip ones I find on the internet.  For now, I've been using Pinterest for meal inspiration and ideas.
and moving them into Evernote as I use them, either from Pinterest, my computer, or a paper recipe.

I also created notes like this:
Here, I plan to write my favorite recipes from my cookbooks. I'm not quite ready to get rid of those yet, though the recipes from books I use less frequently may end up being scanned into evernote...

The possibilities are almost endless.I am so glad I discovered this and really excited about seeing the potential in organizing the rest of my life!  

I remembered seeing something on the evernote blog about linking notes... I went searching (found it on the first try!) and ... AHA!  The perfect menu planning system. So ignore what I wrote above, this will save time and I won't have to put recipes "away"!
It might be hard to see... but I made myself a table with the days of the week.  See the letters on the left side?  That's the link to the recipe I'll use that day!  By right clicking on a recipe (on that middle bar with the pictures) and choosing "copy note link", you copy the URL and can then past it into your chart (control + v). I still will write them out on my notepad (I got a days of the week notepad in the dollar section at walmart that I've been using) for quick peeks at the menu when I'm not at my computer, but this way I'll have it here too! And it will be easier to find the recipes for each day.