Sunday, December 22, 2013

Book Review: Martyr's Fire

Martyr's Fire (Merlin's Immortals, #3)Martyr's Fire by Sigmund Brouwer
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
The book Martyr's Fire, is an adventure type book set in the time of knights.  Main characters include Thomas, the Lord of Magnus who finds he is an immortal, Katherine, who is an immortal seeking to help him recover Magnus and the secrets of the Immortals, and Isabelle, a druid who wants to destroy them both and regain control of Magnus for her father who was "demoted" after Thomas took the fortress of Magnus from him.  This book took me a while to get into; it was hard to tell who were the "good characters" for a while.  The ending of books like this drives me CRAZY. If you aren't looking for a new series to read, than don't bother.  There is no conclusion whatsoever, except that Thomas begins to slightly trust Katherine.  If I'd have known it was this kind of teaser story, I wouldn't have bothered.  I much prefer books that actually give you a bit of satisfaction at the end, even if they have a teaser towards the next in the series to a book that's sole purpose is to get you to buy the next one.  I really can't rate this book very highly for that reason.  This book is actually the third in the series, which I did not realize when I began reading it. That may have something to do with my confusion at the beginning, though it still does excuse the lack of a complete storyline within this book. I actually find it astonishing that the third book in a series could feel so incomplete.   

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

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Quick wallet for L

It was my oldest's birthday on Sunday... Six years old!  We have decided to start giving her a little allowance and I thought a cute new wallet to keep it in was in order. I found a cute free pattern here at Modest Maven, and it is a pretty quick sew if you need a simple wallet!
 I added a little bow!  The outside is corduroy; and as I look at it I'm second guessing that white zebra... my white stuff never stays white...

 It closes with a simple little snap (though trying to get done I put it in wrong and had to cut it off and re-do... sigh.

I did change it up a little on the inside cause I wanted her to have a place for her change, and, really, the only card she might carry is her library card, so she didn't need two rows! 

super simple, and I think she will be excited!  We'll see how fast her little allowance blows out of there...

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Book reviews: The Passionate Mom, The Quilted Heart series, and Bathsheba Bathed in Grace

The Passionate Mom: Dare to Parent in Today's WorldThe Passionate Mom: Dare to Parent in Today's World by Susan Merrill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Passionate Mom is a great book that challenges you to be passionate about your kids. The author studied the story of Nehemiah and relates that to a mother's work of raising her children. I enjoyed the details of the story of Nehemiah, and really appreciated the stories from the author's life as well. It makes the book even more readable and enjoyable and brings the ideas alive. I loved that the book was not just ideas, but also included practical application ideas.  When she discusses the importance of Prayer, she shares the 4 step pattern (I learned it as ACTS in high school) that Nehemiah follows (Adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication). She discusses the story of Nehemiah, makes parallels to a mom's mission, gives concrete steps and suggestions and then makes it even more understandable with examples from her own family.  I recommend this book to christian moms who are passionate and intentional about raising their children and/or have a desire to become even more so!

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

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My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was a very quick read for me.  It was fairly simple and there was no huge drama, it was just a sweet simple love story. I enjoyed it as a nice quick getaway read.  Maren comes to Denmark planning to marry a man who is quick to run off when he realizes her sight is failing. She has settled in with Mrs. Brantenberg and her granddaughter, helping to raise the young granddaughter and do the farmwork.  A man shows up on the farm and turns out to be Gabi's father, and Mrs. Brantenberg's son-in-law, who left them in grief for the war when his wife dies in childbirth.  The story has a bit of romance, and grace and redemption. If you are looking for a book to keep you on the edge of your seat, this is not it.  But if you enjoy clean, sweet and simple romance to get away from the stress of life, then I recommend this book to you. This is the first book in a series, however, this book can be read as a stand-alone novel.  

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

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was another short and sweet novella in The Quilted Heart series by Mona Hodgson.  Similar to my review of the first in the series, this is a simple love story telling the story of Emilie, the shopkeeper's daughter, and Quaid, the son of Irish "teamsters".  Emilie finds that her father, who she always thought to be accepting of all people, is less than thrilled to see his daughter showing interest in Quaid (and vice versa!).  He asks Quaid not to "encourage her" and the story follows their response as a couple to this.  Similar to the first, it is a simple story, without edge of your seat action, but an excellent, quick, uplifting read.  I recommend it to those who enjoy a nice, clean romance.  As with the first novel, I felt it could stand alone as it's own story. It follows characters introduced in the first book, but one does not have to read the first book to enjoy the second.

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

Ripples Along the Shore (Quilted Hearts, #3)Ripples Along the Shore by Mona Hodgson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This book was the one I thought looked the most interesting of the series, but disappointed me most at the end. The story was similar to the others, simple and sweet. This one did not have much romance in it though, but focused on the female character, Caroline, and also shared more of Anna's story as well. There was some romantic interest but it did not lead anywhere in this story; instead it focused on Caroline's feelings of being unwanted in her living situation (as well as not wanting to be immersed in the negativity there) and her dilemma as a single widow as to her plans for the future.  She decides to leave on the wagon train with other families looking for new opportunities, but is denied by the leader. While the other two books in the series offered complete stories for their characters, this one really felt like a "throwaway" book.  It felt like the author was just enticing you into the story to get you to buy the next series. It did not feel complete at all, and was really disappointing. I'm not a fan of the whole "novella" phenomenon. To me, its a money making ploy selling chapters of a book. It seems that the author is continuing with these characters, however, looking at the description of the first novel, it does not even continue with Caroline's unfinished story, but tells Anna's, which was a side story in the first book.  This makes this novella even more of a throwaway for me; what is the point of starting a story that she doesn't plan to finish... WHile i was interested in the story, i'm not really interested in reading more "novellas" so i'm not so sure that I will be reading this next series, which is disappointing as I did enjoy the first two novellas, and the beginning of Caroline's story.

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

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Bathsheba Bathed in Grace: How 8 Scandalous Women Changed the World
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Bathsheba Bathed in Grace is a fictionalized account of 8 women in the Bible.  I was excited to read this but ended up a bit disappointed.  Granted, the author tells each story in one chapter so there isn't a lot of room to expand the stories, and I actually appreciated that she didn't go out of the way to invent details and what "might" have happened. However, I did feel that the stories were rather superficial and basic.  For example, in the first story of Bathsheba, I thought the author's covering o f the murder of her husband Uriah was very lacking.  She really didn't seem distraught at all, even though she was so in love with him at the beginning of the story.  She very quickly was grateful to David for taking her and her unborn son to the palace rather than leaving them to fend for themselves, instead of being angry that he'd killed her husband.  Perhaps she didn't know this, but still her grief for Uriah was very superficial.  I did learn more about the women and what their perspectives might have been.  She does give the reader new insight into some of the lesser known women like Tamar and their stories. Tamar was probably my favorite and I learned the most from that story.  I would read more from this author though I do hope her writing deepens a bit. 

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

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Book Reviews: Simply Delicious Amish Cooking

Simply Delicious Amish Cooking: Recipes and Stories from the Amish of Sarasota, FloridaSimply Delicious Amish Cooking: Recipes and Stories from the Amish of Sarasota, Florida by Sherry Gore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This looks like an excellent cookbook!  i can't wait to try homemade root beer!! I have wanted to make it ever since reading an Amish fiction novel where the family made and sold it, so that one popped out right away! I have read lots of complaints from reviewers about using items like jello, pudding, and canned fruit, etc, and also about recipes not being healthy. In my experience, (I live in an Amish area and am Mennonite), typical Amish and Mennonite cooking is not meant to be healthy!  Most conservative amish and Mennonite are working so hard physically every day, there isn't much need for dieting.  And I'm not surprised either at the use of canned fruits (my guess is that some would use their home canned items anyway) and mixes.  The recipes look delicious and I recognize many of them as being common in our area also. My mom makes Poor Man's Steak, and we love hamloaf (though I've never attempted to make it from scratch... I'm tempted though, it looks so simple!).  The breads look amazing; amish bread is famous around here and I'd love to be able to make my own! And Country Caramel French Toast... that one will be on the list too! And for a super traditional dessert (around here in central PA anyway), try the whoopie pies!  Delicious... There is an excellent range of items; delicious looking desserts, breads, breakfast items, main dishes, salads, cookies... and a yummy looking seafood section that looks to be the most unique thing about the Pinecroft Amish!  Alligator Stew may be difficult to make if you aren't seaside, but there are a lot of other options, like Grilled Lime Fish Fillets, and Peppered Lime batter for fish.  I'm not a seafood eater, but I may have to try those! The stories peppered throughout the book are like snippets of Amish life, stories about family life- they may not be super exciting, but its a neat peek into Amish living- it feels like you are reading bits out of the Budget!

If you are looking for a healthy, simple living cookbook, then this is probably not the one for you.  If you want good, simple, authentic Amish food, then try it! Tons of great recipes and a peek at Amish life.  I'd recommend it!

Note:  In looking at the pictures, it seems that that Pinecroft Amish are more like conservative Mennonites in our area (central PA), though I believe there are more liberal Amish in the Lancaster area as well.  Either way, the food is very similar to Amish and Mennonite food here as well.

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

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Anywhere Dress Pattern Review

I am doing my own little Kids Clothing Week this week, since I wasn't prepared for the "real" one. (We'll just pretend I am prepared this week and not just spending my hour taping patterns and cutting fabric...).  The first thing I finished up was an 
Anywhere Dress from Go To Patterns (affiliate links)

This dress is simple and the PDF pattern makes it even easier to sew up!  There are just a few pieces to cut out; adding in the facings make it seem like more but they really save you so much time later since you don't have to do any binding at the neck! 
You can see the neckline on this picture. The facing is the inside piece that helps finish off the neckline.
Another great thing about the pattern (and most patterns from Go To Patterns) is that it includes sizes for 12 months to 12 years!! That is an amazing range you DO NOT get with traditional paper patterns.  Plus they are so simple to sew from, and include tons of detailed instructions and photos.  Plus the designers are usually available to answer questions!

My only complaint of the entire pattern is that the front and back dress pieces  use the same letters as marks for connecting the PDF pattern pieces (if you've never used a pdf pattern, most have little matching marks that show you which pieces to tape together and line them up correctly). And this is pretty much a moot point, since they are mirror images of each other so it's pretty obvious which goes where.  

It is a little large, but that is not a fault of the pattern.  I made her a size 6 because I don't want her to grow out of it this summer!  Still wearable now, but should last for quite a while! I did cut the hemline to the next size to make it a bit longer. I'm not positive I would do that again though- it feels a bit long and I'm not sure if it is because of the next size up sizing or if its just cut too long.  I thought the pictures of the models looked a smidge short for our tastes though... 

While I usually try to be cheap thrifty and use larger size clothes for fabric, I bought this at Joann's because I loved it! It's not as unique though...I actually showed a picture of this exact dress to L though, to show her what it would look like with her sleeve choice!

Pictures are not great, regrettably.... snapped quickly before school this morning (thus little bro in his PJ's...yep, we'll just pretend he doesn't also end up wearing those most of the day...)!

Anyway, this was a great pattern and I'll definitely be using it more!  I can see it coming in super handy to make tee-shirts with as well! This would be an amazing beginning project for using knits.  They are not as scary as they seem and make such amazing comfy clothes!

Next up: the Hangout Hoodie from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop! (affiliate links)

I recieved a copy of this pattern for free in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Book reviews: So Shines the Night & Intentional Parenting

So Shines the NightSo Shines the Night by Tracy Higley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book a lot. It is historical fiction set in Biblical times, though the main characters are completely fictional.  I appreciate that the author lets us experience what things may have been like in these times without taking so many liberties with a well known person from the Bible. It definitely gave me a new appreciation for what early Christians dealt with!  The author shows the Ephesians devotion to their gods and the culture of the times as people are dabbling in sorcery and animal sacrifices.  One of the Christian characters who was not able to have a baby is thrilled when she takes in a child that the parents have left to die at the river due to a physical deformity. It gives the reader a view of the risks new believers took in following Christ in those times.  The story follows Daria, a widow, as she struggles to make her way with no one to help her as her father and husband have both died.  She meets Lucas who offers her a position teaching him Persian if she goes with him to Ephesus.  Lucas himself is struggling with his desire for vengeance for his wife's death and getting close to some dangerous people in the process.  Both characters meet Paul, the great evangelist from the Bible, and we also meet other famous characters such as Timothy and Priscilla and Aquilla.  The story was interesting and was full of romance and mystery with a great twist at the end.  This was an excellent read and I would recommend it.

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

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Intentional Parenting: Autopilot Is for PlanesIntentional Parenting: Autopilot Is for Planes by Sissy Goff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I loved this book. It was a great reminder that you can just float through your children's lives and parenting experience or you can be intentional and be a parent with a purpose. The authors gave lots of examples from their lives and counseling practice to go along with the book's themes. While the book encorages you to be intentional about your impact on your kids lives it also gives pages of parenting and discipline tips. They are not in depth, just a paragraph or so for each tip, but I prefer it his way as it is a great way to remind yourself. The authors reference other books that they have written and after reading this one, I would love to read others! I would recommend this book for any parent. For new parents its a great way to dip your toes into the themes before moving on to more in depth readng. Afor experienced parents, an excellent reminder to make sure you are on the path you want to be.

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

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Pajama Eaters!

Instead of an Easter basket, I decided to make L a Pajama Eater!  

I bought the pattern by Sew Fearless which means that I can make them to sell.  Which I plan to do!

My daughter has the habit of stepping past (or on top of) all the jammies on her floor she has only worn for one night to get new ones!  So, Theoretically, this will help with that problem as she was told she can only have out what the PJ Eater can fit!  
See the zipper? I am pretty sure she stuffed about three pairs in there this time, but hopefully we can whittle it down to one at a time!  These little guys are so cute sitting around too! 

This little guy snuck into her room when she was sleeping and sat down to wait... I'm kind of surprised those Peeps made it through the night....

I had to make a few adjustments; since I don't keep felt around (and of course a certain store was out of white!), I made the teeth like I did on E's dinosaur jacket....oh wait. It looks like I never blogged that.... Anyhoo.... like the teeth on this jacket tutorial.  Much more time consuming that felt, so I'll be getting some of that... otherwise I followed that pattern. Great pattern if you want to try a few!  The pattern included the rights to sell them, so I will be sewing up a few in the near future!  Drop me a line if you want first dibs!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Matchy Matchy Easter....

I finally got the kids dressed cute for Easter this year... No group picture unfortunately. The only one I got was less than satisfactory since the baby didn't understand why he couldn't have breakfast (wanted him to not be bored during breakfast at church!).  

Anyway, I sewed L a little dress, and the boys little matching bowties. I basically followed this tutorial but made double bows, and used elastic to hold them on. 

They looked so adorable... Maybe they should wear bowties and button downs every sunday...

L's Dress was sort of based off this dress by Simple Simon & Co; I used the flutter sleeve tutorial on this page, though I think they missed a seam allowance in the directions, so it was a little shorter than I wanted... I am very happy with the dress though.  I traced a tee shirt to make the bodice and then just added a full skirt.  I lined both top and bottom, since the fabric is a little light. 
The flutter sleeves were flipped over for all the pictures... oops!

She was happy with it, and they all looked great!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Cheap-O Planner Portfolio

After using my iPhone as my main calendar for a few years, I've decided to go back to a paper planner with hopes to use it to be more organized and productive in general.  I didn't really want to pay loads of money for a nice one in case I didn't use it and had actually thought a lot about diy-ing one. Then I found one for $2.50 at the Family Dollar, and the cheapskate in me grabbed it up! Its pink, which is fine, but I wanted to have pockets to tuck in bills to pay, and other paperwork I want to have on-hand. So, I designed myself a little portfolio!  Prettier and more functional! 

I have a lot of scraps leftover from sewing all my diaper clutches that I sell, so I scrapped some coordinating ones together, and added an elastic and a button to keep it closed and hold everything in there.  

I actually like this planner a lot; it has a clear plastic over the front so I've stuck some post-its in there with my top five sewing to dos, and household to dos ( you can see where my priorities are... nothing is crossed off the household list, lol) and some extra post-its as well.  I plan to use one on my weekly page to do some weekly to-dos that can be easily moved to the next day.  I wanted a few pockets, so there are 2 to tuck things into and a pencil pocket.  

Well, there she is.... I'm off to spray it with some Scotch Guard and see if that keeps it cleaner than my white and blue diaper clutch... :)

Oh and by the way... if you need a great site for free, cheap and EDUCATIONAL apps for kids, check out !! I love this site, and right now they have an ipad mini giveaway going on!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Book Reviews: Avenged, Ollie Chandler Collection, Shattered, and Goodbye to Yesterday

AvengedAvenged by Janice Cantore
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was a pretty quick though enjoyable read for me. It follows Police Officer Carly Edwards as she encounters the bodies of three executed gang members which escalates tense relations between the two rival gangs.  Of course, there is more to the situation than it would appear and Carly pursues the case.  Journalist Ginny Masters aggravates the situation by believing Carly to be a corrupt killer, and attempts to ruin Carly's reputation. As I said, I did enjoy this and would recommend it to mystery lovers, though it is not a very detailed mystery. This is the third in the Pacific Coast Justice series and though I think it would have been enjoyable and helpful to read the first two, it isn't necessary to enjoy this one.  I did think that the journalist Ginny Masters' irrational beliefs throughout the story were over-the-top and rather hard to believe that someone could be that... well... stupid! There was really no discussion of this as the book closed either.  Otherwise, I enjoyed the book, and would read more by this author.

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

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Ollie Chandler Collection: Three Novels: Deadline, Dominion, DeceptionOllie Chandler Collection: Three Novels: Deadline, Dominion, Deception by Randy Alcorn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

At this point, I have only finished the first book, and must say it was great! I love Randy Alcorn, his books always make you think. This novel follows journalist Jake Woods through a car accident and the subsequent death of his best friends, one Christian and one...definitely not.  As Jake assists in investigating the deaths, his experiences lead to change in his political beliefs and faith and his relationships with his ex-wife and teenage daughter. The book discusses hot and controversial issues such as abortion, sex ed in schools, and gay rights.  As a christian, I agree with the views promoted but it may come on a bit strong for someone with the opposite views.  Overall, I felt there was an excellent story line and lots of thought provoking discussion of important issues. I'm not sure why its called the Ollie Chandler collection, as the detective Ollie Chandler is a rather supporting character to Jake's.  I've begun the second and it appears that it will follow another supporting character, a co-worker of Jake's at the newspaper, Clarence.  I assume that there will be some mystery Ollie will be involved in, but either way, I'm looking forward to the last 2 books in the series and would definitely recommend them!

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

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Shattered (Alaskan Courage, # 2)
Shattered by Dani Pettrey

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I enjoyed this follow-up to Submerged.  This novel continues to follow the McKenna family.  The mystery part of the novel was great. It kept my attention as the McKenna siblings, with a bit of help, investigate the murder of a professional skiier in order to exonerate their brother who was found at the scene of the crime.  The romance centered around the youngest sibling, Piper, and Landon, the Deputy who was taken in by the McKennas when his family fell apart.  Now, this part for me was readable, and I enjoyed the characters; however, I felt that the romance felt a little high school and silly.  The two characters are madly in love but neither sees that the other feels the same, and when they do finally show it, they later retract it and cause confusion.  And though Piper is an adult, her older brother Cole is angry when he encounters Landon and Piper kissing.  It all seems a bit silly and juvenile.  Overall though, I would recommend the book and I do very much enjoy reading them.  They are pretty quick reads, entertaining, though also thought provoking as the characters discuss and live their faith. I look forward to more in this series as, in the last book as well, there were some pretty big hints towards future relationships!  Excellent read for romance and mystery readers!

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

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Goodbye to Yesterday (Discovery Series #1)Goodbye to Yesterday by Wanda E. Brunstetter

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I was pretty disappointed with this one actually. It's a tiny book with large print that in reality is only the first few chapters of a "real" book.  I would have been pretty disappointed had I bought this book. There is nothing that is resolved in this part of the story.  It sets up for continuing the series but in no way can be read on it's own.  It honestly felt like a rip-off- a way to make money by forcing people to buy different parts of the same book.  I'm not sure what the publisher or author's goal is for doing it this way, but I really didn't like it at all.  With regards to the story, as I said before, this booklet introduces the reader to Meredith and Luke, a newly married Amish couple dealing with the stress of a lost job.  I can't say that I enjoyed this too much either.  It seemed to be dragged out too much, and the adding of Dutch words or phrases then explained by an awkward repeating by the second person in the conversation drives me nuts.  This part of the story shows the stress of the couple as Luke lost his job a few months back, then his excitement and her misgivings as he goes to Indiana (from Pennsylvania) to learn and buy a business from his uncle only to experience "tragedy" as the back flap puts it. Which is exactly where the "book" ends.  I was so annoyed by that that I really cannot recommend this book at all.  I honestly would not bother unless you  LOVE Amish fiction, and are willing to buy multiple books to get one story.

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

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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Book Review: Congo Dawn

Congo DawnCongo Dawn by Jeanette Windle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was an excellent book.  It was a detailed look at life in the Congo.  The story centers around former Marine Lieutenant Robin Duncan and her work as a translator in the private sector for a mercenary company.  While she thinks their mission is a helpful one, as the story progresses she encounters many people who feel otherwise as they intrude on local villages who have already been terrorized by rebels in their past. While arriving at her site, she encounters a former friend and the story also revolves around their second meeting as well as clearing up misunderstandings from their past.  The story had plenty of action and an excellent storyline as well. There is a bit of romance, but the focus is definitely on telling the story as opposed to throwing in romance for romance's sake.  This is a book by a Christian author and is very well done, compared to others I have read!  The faith aspect of the book is not overwhelming and is believable as the main character works through a new understanding of God and her faith in the midst of so much pain and suffering.   I would recommend this book and look forward to reading more by this author.  

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

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Saturday, February 9, 2013


I'm happy to say, I now consider myself a knitter!  I have achieved one of my lifetime goals! Hopefully it's not too sad that one of my lifetime goals is knitting...

Anyway, for Christmas 2 of the gifts for our family exchange were a Burton Bear cowl for my niece and a hat for my nephew.

This is the Burton Bear Cowl on my five year old daughter... it is the toddler size but oh well! This was my first knit in bulky yarn, and I LOVE it.  It makes everything go so quickly!  I cannot claim credit for the ears, as they are crochet and I have not crossed that off my "to learn" list yet.

And my nephew modeling his new hat, which also happens to be my first attempt at color blocking!  Surprisingly simple! I will definitely be doing some more as this is such a cute hat and I'm pretty sure it won't fit him past this year... (Note to self: Measure head before assuming the pattern needs adjusted...)

Isn't he a cutie?  Looks so innocent there...

More knitting to come as I recently finished a Fear of Committment Cowl for my sister and am working on a cowl sweater shrug wrap for ME! Finally...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Book Review: The Respect Dare

The Respect Dare: 40 Days to a Deeper Connection with God and Your HusbandThe Respect Dare: 40 Days to a Deeper Connection with God and Your Husband by Nina Roesner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While I haven't worked through the book as intended, I read through most of it in order to give my review. I am excited to use this book as a daily exercise as the author intended. I am a huge fan of Eggerich's Love and Respect book, and we just finished a sunday school class study on it. This is a nice extension for me of that series.  The author gives forty daily readings and challenges for thought on the topic of respect. She recommends journaling the experience as well.  The book is for women in thinking about their relationships with their husband.  This is not old-fashioned submission, as in respecting ones husband the goal is not to become a doormat, rather to honor what God requests of us in terms of our spouse.  While the book does not give many concrete suggestions or "dares", it is more of a time for introspection as a wife as to how we think about, respond to, and respect our husbands. I can see this being very helpful in my life, as I often find myself struggling with my attitude towards my husband and what is happening in our home.  And honestly, any marriage book discussing how to change one's husband as opposed to changing oneself is not worth the paper it's written on.  I recommend this book for anyone interested in continuing their study and efforts to respect their husband. Though I would recommend first reading Love and Respect in order to gain a better understanding of the Love and Respect relationship in a marriage.

I received a copy of this ebook in exchange for my honest review.  

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Great site for educational kids apps! (And iPad mini giveaway!)

I have discovered an amazing site that reviews educational kids apps for iDevices called Smart Apps For Kids. We have discovered so many amazing apps through their site! My favorite part of the site is their "good free app of the day" -they often have two- and they also have a list of the 100 best free preschool apps, and a school age list as well. Todays app is one I am super excited about! Zondervan's Beginners Bible app! And Fridays are free app fridays, where they link to developers who are offering their apps for free for a limited time. If you have any Apple device you should definitely check them out!

And today they are giving away an Apple iPad Mini in honor of their second birthday! So check them out and get connected so you dont miss any of the awesome apps!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Book Review, Amish Fiction

Though Mountains FallThough Mountains Fall by Dale Cramer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is what I'm guessing is the final book in the series. I was teary through probably 75% of the book. The author makes the characters and their struggles very real, and I like that he lets you peek into so many of the characters, not just 1 or 2 main characters.  He shows a lot from the daughters' point of view, but their father's experience and struggles are a big part of the story as well.  I don't read a lot of Amish fiction, but this does have quite a different spin on it as the Amish families have settled in Mexico. It's very interested how they deal with different aspects of the culture and difficulties they have there.  And frustrating as well in certain situations- even having grown up as a Pacifist Mennonite, I was so frustrated as they punished a young man for protecting a young Amish woman from what would have surely been a beating and rape at the least.  I enjoyed all three of this series and would recommend them to lovers of Amish fiction and newbies alike.

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

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

MUST Read Book!: "Desperate" by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson

Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to BreatheDesperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe by Sarah Mae
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was such an excellent book and just what I needed to read right now!  The book is authored by Sarah Mae, a blogger and speaker with young children, and Sally Clarkson, speaker, author, co-founder of Whole Heart Ministries which is focused on developing strong families. This combination is excellent as both women have wonderful insights born of their separate experiences.  Sarah Mae is still in the throes with young children, while Sally's children are almost grown which makes for an amazing "conversation" throughout the book.  The women stress the importance of getting together with other moms for support and finding an older woman as a mentor.

The book really spoke to me as the women are so honest about their struggles with raising their children, with the frustration, fear of failure, selfishness we struggle with every day.  It is so motivating to realize one is not the only one with these struggles, and their insights motivate me to be a better mom.  One of my favorite quotes in the book is the following by Sally:

"Satan knows that the righteousness and faith of the next generation are in the hands of parents, and particularly the moms, who interact with their children every hour of the day. Satan would just love for us to think our labor is in vain and ineffective, and that we are not adequate for the task."

Wow.  How motivating for me to remember that this is a spiritual battle and that my main job right now is to train and prepare my kids for the future. That everything that happens in this house is training them. There is much more on this topic, as well as how to care for oneself, and even a bit on housework!

I strongly recommend this book to any Christian mom, no matter how you feel about how your journey with your kids is going.  But especially if you feel overwhelmed, tired, and "desperate".  This one will be staying handy as one I frequently re-read to keep my mind and heart on track as to my purpose!

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

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Book Review: Beyond Ordinary: excellent marriage book!

Beyond Ordinary: When a Good Marriage Just Isn't Good EnoughBeyond Ordinary: When a Good Marriage Just Isn't Good Enough by Justin Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Beyond Ordinary is an excellent "marriage book".  The authors share the story of their marriage journey through ministry and adultery to an extraordinary relationship. I actually found myself reading to find out what happens in their story and had to remind myself to think of personal application. I liked that each chapter shared more of their story, as well as a Biblical story and insights into how to move into an extraordinary covenant relationship. Obviously this would be an excellent book for a couple struggling in the aftermath of adultery or a similar betrayal, but it is also great for anyone at any level.  As the authors say, we often settle for ordinary, not realizing we could have so much more. Since the authors take turns writing individually as well as together, one gets insight into how the opposite sex thinks and much of their story struck a chord with me.  I appreciated as well how the authors are clear that one's personal relationship with Christ must be first and foremost in importance.  I recommend this book for any couple or even an engaged couple to read and discuss how to implement these ideas from the start.

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

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