Thursday, August 28, 2014

Your Core by Callie Grant

My Thoughts:

We've greatly enjoyed the other Graham Blanchard books, so I was more than thrilled to give this one a try, too.

Your Core is a simple book, with very few words within it.

"A core is something on the inside.
Balls have a core.
Apples do too."

(5 page spread)

Each page has bright, colorful pictures to illustrate its point, and the book ends with a Bible verse.

Ephesians 3:16-17

"I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith."

In Your Core, your little one gets a lesson in cores, tying it to their core(soul). Admittedly, tying the core lesson to souls was difficult for my 3 and 5 year olds to grasp. They understand cores, in general. They realize an apple has a core, and that's where the seeds are. Telling them that their core is their soul was confusing for them. We haven't really talked about "souls" as a topic, though, and the fact that they have one. I hope it would go without saying, but we DO talk about God and Heaven(even though we get questions sometimes we don't know how to answer). We just haven't taught using the term "soul" very much. (I don't know whether to feel horrible about this or not now!) ;)

That said, I still appreciate this book! We got a mini science lesson(like some of the others in this series), and what's not to like about that?! I also like that you can go to the Graham Blanchard webpage and get extra resources for each book. I downloaded a "tip sheet" with various ways to help teach the book's message to my little ones. This is a perfect, gentle way to add a science lesson into our day, and it's been a great way to encourage me to teach my little ones about what exactly a soul is. Challenging their minds is a good thing, so I'll keep talking with them about it.

*I was provided a review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

**Just a heads up: There's 8 copies being given away at Goodreads, so make sure you get your name in the hat!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Berenstain Bears: Blessed are the Peacemakers by Mike Berenstain

Purchase Link:

The Berenstain Bears Blessed are the Peacemakers (Berenstain Bears/Living Lights)

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Thoughts:

You may remember a couple of weeks ago, I posted about how The Berenstain Bears are hit/miss for me. Since we enjoyed God Shows the Way, I thought we could give this one a try, too. Also, we recently talked about how Joseph(Son of Jacob) was a peacemaker while he was in prison, attempting to tie that to how we shouldn't fight with our brothers. I thought this book would be a good read to reinforce that lesson.

In Blessed are the Peacemakers, we meet two "gangs". One gang is a group of troublemakers, and one is a group of smart kids. Since Brother and Sister Bear like to get along with everyone, they weren't a part of either group. They become the peacemakers when these two groups are fighting. At one point, the fighting becomes so bad that a few adults have to step in and be the peacemakers.

Bullying is such a tough topic! In this story, Brother and Sister step in between two *groups* of fighting bears and Cousin Fred says a Bible verse, which stops the fight. In reality, that most likely would have bought him a punch in the face, instead of peace. Even so, I think the author did a pretty decent job of getting the message across, especially with such a short read. With bullying, I would recommend to my children that they find an adult, if possible, especially when so many others are involved. Of course, I don't ever want them to stand by and do nothing at all. They're still so young(Grasshopper isn't an average 5 year old) that I haven't really got into what they should do if someone is being bullied. Again, it's a tough topic, and there's so many possibilities to consider.

For the most part, I focused on how we don't fight with our brothers, and how we don't make fun of others because they are different than us, or like different things. We're all God's children. Grasshopper is very sensitive to things like that. Typically when I explain that we don't say certain things that could embarrass or hurt someone's feelings, he takes it pretty seriously. I like when books like these give us openings to discuss different topics that don't come up in everyday life for us. With many things in life, it's better to discuss things before it happens, as opposed to after. (There's also some discussion questions listed in the back.)

Overall, while not perfect, I appreciated this book and the discussions that resulted from it.

*I was provided a review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

The New Colored Pencil by Kristy Ann Kutch

About the Book:

Learn to draw and paint using colored pencils in The New Colored Pencil: a how-to guide for creating vibrant, textured, and easy art illustrations by best-selling author and teacher Kristy Kutch

Master the Latest Breakthroughs in Colored Pencil Art

If you want to create colorful, radiant works of art, colored pencil and related color media (wax pastels, watercolor pencils, and so on) provide you with limitless options for adding vibrancy to your creations. In The New Colored Pencil, artist and instructor Kristy Ann Kutch guides you through the latest developments in color drawing media with examples of and recommendations for the newest pencil brands, drawing surfaces, and groundbreaking techniques (including using the Grid Method, grating pigments, blending with heat, and more). Supported by step-by-step demonstrations and showcasing inspiring art from some of today’s best colored pencil artists, The New Colored Pencil shows you how to use color theory to your advantage, combine color media, create and enhance textures, and experiment with surfaces to create interesting effects. Whether you use traditional wax-based, or watercolor colored pencils, The New Colored Pencil will take your art to the next level.

Purchase Link:

The New Colored Pencil: Create Luminous Works with Innovative Materials and Techniques

About the Author:

KRISTY ANN KUTCH has taught more than two hundred colored pencil and watercolor pencil workshops to artists and students nationwide. She is the author of Drawing and Painting with Colored Pencil, and is a contributor to several colored pencil publications, including The Best of Colored Pencil, Creative Colored Pencil, and Colored Pencil Explorations. Her work has appeared in International Artist Magazine and Pratique des Arts. She also authored a DVD called Colored Pencil Landscapes: Beyond the Basics, released by Artist Palette Productions. Kutch is a resident of Michigan City, Indiana.

My Thoughts:

I'm new to the world of drawing/painting/art. Very new! My momma was blessed with a beautiful, natural talent to draw and paint. I grew up seeing her practice this talent and expand it. She has created beautiful pieces, and though I've always admired it, and wished I had been given that talent, I didn't get it naturally. That said, I DO want to learn to draw. It may not come naturally, but I've been feeling the pull in the artistic direction lately, and I really want to see what I can do with it. (Note: Even those blessed with natural talent have to put in hours/years of hard work and practice to grow and strengthen that talent, so please don't think I'm implying that's not the case!)

I decided to give The New Colored Pencil a try to see what it could teach me. There's all kind of beginner information in here! It's not really a step by step kind of book. Don't expect it to teach you how to draw step by step and color step by step for all the pictures. There ARE some steps on how to do certain techniques, but if you're wanting it specifically for that purpose, I think you'll be disappointed.

The book starts out explaining what kind of colored pencils are best. (Go for quality over quantity!) I loved that the book has different charts explaining different products, with characteristics(and price level for some). For example, the chart for colored pencils compares 13 different products. You can see how many shades each brand offers(these shades are shown in the appendix), price level, and characteristics for that particular brand. There are also other charts for materials you will need to create art with colored pencils. From there, you will see all kinds of definitions, directions, techniques, and many other things related to drawing with colored pencils. Honestly, for my beginner self, it's a little overwhelming at first, but I know that as I learn and grow, I'll get more and more benefit from this book.

As far as pictures, there are many of them to encourage you(or intimidate you)along the way. They have been created by various artists, and I'm amazed at the talent within this book! There's great beauty in these pages!

I DO recommend this book for beginners. If you're an old pro at colored pencil artistry, I imagine you'll already know most of this stuff. Then again, you might learn something new, too! :)

*I was provided a review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Zoo at the Edge of the World by Eric Kahn Gale

Amazon Purchase Link:

The Zoo at the Edge of the World by Eric Kahn Gale

Balzer + Bray (August 26, 2014) 240 pages

My Rating: 5/5 stars

My Thoughts:

This little story had me rapidly flipping the pages, and I really didn’t want to put it down when I had to!

Marlin stutters. He has an extraordinarily hard time moving words from his mouth when he is around humans. He lives in the jungle with his father, Ronan Rackham, and his brother, Tim, where they own and run a zoo/resort, with the help of the natives of the land. When Marlin talks to the animals, words come freely from his mouth. The moment a human comes in the picture, the words freeze.

Tim is a bully. He especially gives Marlin a hard time, and with their father’s encouragement, compete with each other for a monkey paw. The one with the honor of holding the paw is the one who has gained favor in their father’s eyes at that given time. Thankfully, Marlin does have animal friends, especially his pet monkey, Kenji. He also meets a new girl, named Olivia, who gives much support through the story.

At the ending, a little light bulb of recognition went off in my mind, and I had to smile. It made me love the book so much more. If this light bulb doesn’t go off for you, I imagine you’ll hate the ending. The Zoo at the Edge of the World, to me, seems to be a prequel, of sorts, to a classic in the children’s realm. (Honestly, I don't know if that's what the story is suppose to be, but it came off that way to me.) I adore re-tellings, and if I’d known, I’d have picked it up even sooner than I did. I won't give details, because that would ruin things for you, but this story IS a fantasy!

From a parent’s viewpoint, there is plenty within this book to open discussion and thinking. From a child’s standpoint, there is plenty of action, adventure, and courage to keep them(and me) flipping the pages. I won’t hesitate to put this book on my boys’ bookshelf for a few years down the road! (perfect for girls, too, should you have any of those!) ;)

In case you couldn't tell, I highly recommend The Zoo at the Edge of the World! I loved it.

*Thanks to Balzer + Bray and Edelweiss for providing me with an e-ARC, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Attack at the Arena by Marianne Hering and Paul McCusker

Attack at the Arena (AIO Imagination Station Books Book 2)

My Thoughts:

To see my thoughts on the first book, and some initial thoughts about the series, in general, click HERE.

Attack at the Arena is the 2nd book in the Imagination Station series. In this adventure, cousins Patrick and Beth travel to 5th century Rome in search of a monk's cup. Admittedly, I'm curious who Albert is. The writers have done a great job making a child/adult want to get from one book straight into another! There's little mysteries scattered about, like who Albert is and the ring.

While in Rome, Patrick and Beth meet a monk and Emperor Honorius. We learn a bit more about the world of arena fighting back then. As I mentioned in my post about Voyage of the Vikings, everything is really just touched on, as opposed to great detail. It leaves the parent(or child) open to add as much or as little detail for deeper studying. I've been doing a bit of history reading myself, trying to get people/places/events in the proper place in my brain. These stories have grabbed my interest, and I'm excited to do more studying, not only for myself, but for Grasshopper.

I'll mention briefly that there was one part I didn't care for. The monk informs Patrick that God told him where a certain person would be.

Overall, I've had fun within these stories, and I decided to go ahead and start reading Voyage with the Vikings with Grasshopper from my kindle(as opposed to locating a paper copy later). So far, so good! :)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Voyage of the Vikings by Paul McCusker and Marianne Hering

Voyage with the Vikings (AIO Imagination Station Books Book 1) by Paul McCusker and Marianne Hering

My Thoughts:

We're officially homeschooling Grasshopper(5, almost 6) now, and I'm looking for gentle ways to add history lessons into his days. (We're mainly using History Stories for Children, as a Charlotte Mason recommendation, but I'd like to teach/learn about other people/places/time periods, too.) I've read one of the books in the Imagination Station series in the past, and I thought I remembered it having a little history lesson intertwined in the story. Since I had access to the first 3 books, and they count for the Summer Reading Program, I decided to test them out, and see if it looked like something Grasshopper could handle. (You should be seeing the next 2 books flow through my blog in the next couple of days.)

I'm actually pretty thrilled that I think he will enjoy them now. They are full of action and there is a little mini lesson in history. Really, it just touches on the person/place, but I think it will make a wonderful introduction for a deeper study. As you would guess, in Voyage of the Vikings, we are transported through time to Greeenland, and meet Erik the Red and Leif Eriksson. This is a very short read for young readers, so there isn't really anything touched on in depth, but again, it's a nice introduction to the world of Vikings.

Overall, I'm excited to try these out with Grasshopper! I just checked and my local library doesn't have them, so we may have to buy a book a month. :D (My copies were from my kindle/PDF, and I prefer real paper copies when reading to the boys.)

Austenland by Shannon Hale

Austenland by Shannon Hale

My Rating: 2.5/5 stars

My Thoughts:

Since August is the month dedicated to reading Jane Austen(both original and "retellings"), I decided to go ahead and put Austenland on my reading list. I haven't allowed myself to watch the movie until I read the book, and I really want to watch the movie! Plus, I've enjoyed a few of Hale's other books(Book of a Thousand Days, Princess Academy and Goose Girl).

I know a lot of people that have loved this book, so I almost hate to admit how much I didn't like it. At first, I really did enjoy it! (I actually read it pretty quickly!) The more and more I read, though, the more I got annoyed. The longer I spent away from the book after finishing, the more I disliked it.

I don't want to say that I didn't like Jane. I know people in real life that have some of her ways, and I like them just fine. I didn't like her ways, though! She seemed to jump at any guy that looked at her fondly. I *should* have been happy with the ending, but I wasn't. I just felt sorry for a certain person, because Jane was so wishy-washy concerning her men. I was just shaking my head at some of her decisions. (which is really hypocritical of me, considering how wishy-washy I am with my decisions, though not the ones that truly matter!)

Also, though not the reason for my dislike(at least completely), the book was much less innocent than I thought it would be. There's passionate kissing, profanity(though it doesn't pass into the high category), and lots of "not innocent" things, though NO sex. I know some people roll their eyes at me for this kind of stuff, or even get angry in the secular world(I'm NOT judging you!), but I just thought it would be sweeter. As an adult read, I'd definitely still label it as a clean read, though.

I DO still plan on watching the movie, though I don't know when. Trying to rent a movie is so "iffy" for us. :S

I've saw the movie cover, and I know that Jennifer Coolidge plays a part. Though not an actress one would think I'd like, I simply love her as an actress! If it's family friendly at all, and she's in it, I want to watch it. I immediately figured out who she plays in the movie while reading the book. They could NOT have done a better job picking an actress for the part of Miss Charming. To see her part in the movie has me more excited than anything else.

So, overall I was disappointed, but this is such a well-loved book, I still recommend you give it a shot!

*Thanks to my local library for lending me an e-copy of this book to read!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Playing Catch-Up

My computer is such a pain right now that I have a hard time motivating myself to write up my thoughts about the books I've read. (I DO spend entirely too much time on the internet via my KindleFire, though!) But, I get so mad at myself when I don't at least write *something* to look back on, to give me an idea of what was going through my mind when I read it. It's nice for re-read comparisons! So, for the next few days, my hopes are to really focus on catching up and starting fresh with "book thoughts". Hopefully, there will be several coming through in the next week or so. The Tyndale Reading Program ends August 31st, and I want to get my posts sent through before that ends. Also, Annette's Summer Reading Challenge(Emma by Austen) and Austen in August(Austenland and Just Jane, if I finish in time)posts need to go up before the end of the month.

For this post, I'm catching up with a few "4 star" reads that I've finished over the last couple of months. (These were all mentioned in my last "Nightstand" post.

First up,

The Body in the Library: A Miss Marple Mystery (Miss Marple Mysteries) by Agatha Christie

This is only my second book of Christie's to read, but I want to read them all now. I love her style of writing, and I love the little challenge to my brain. Being a stay at home mom is wonderful in many ways, and such a blessing, but it does get "routine", if that's really possible with 3 little ones. I've grown to greatly enjoy mysteries, especially Christie's, and the joy of trying to figure out "who did it".

One thing about this book that made me especially fond of it was the fact that Christie includes her own name in a list of famous authors within the story. There's one scene where a little boy is bragging about the famous author signatures he has, and Agatha Christie is included in the list. I had to stop a moment and make sure I was reading what I thought I was, and then I smiled. It shows the author's sense of humor, and made me more fond of her. She's on my list of authors that I want to read more about concerning their lives outside of being an author.

Just in case you're wondering: No, I did not guess correctly.

After finishing the story, and being horribly sick one day(several days!), I decided to watch the movie based on The Body at the Library. It was fun! Of course, there were lots of little additions and subtractions, but it stayed pretty close to the story. I still recommend the book over the movie, though!

Content: Mild profanity throughout

Next up,

The Giver by Lois Lowry

This was a re-read for me, in anticipation for the movie that just came out in theaters. I told Jonathan that I'd like for us to go see it soon. I was a few months pregnant with Bumblebee the last time we went to the theater. I miss it!

I enjoyed this book much more this time than the first, I think, though the word "enjoy" might be stretching it a bit. I wasn't overly impressed the first time, but it made me think so much more this time around. There were certain parts, like "smacking" children that couldn't pronounce words properly, that really hurt my heart. As a parent with a child that struggled with speech for years, I couldn't imagine "smacking" him for not talking properly. (He still struggles with certain sounds even now at almost 6.) Of course, there were lots of other parts that hurt my heart, but I won't give any spoilers.

This is one of those books I consider a "must read"! It will stretch your mind and make you think and probably appreciate life a little more the way it is.


Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters

This is another mystery, and another one I enjoyed, and another one I didn't guess correctly concerning "who did it". The next book is on my list and hopefully soon. It was fun and sweet. Amelia is now one of my favorite fictional characters(so far, at least). In many ways, she seems so naive, but she's smart and sarcastic and just fun. I liked her!

Content: I think there was very mild profanity, but honestly, I don't remember if there was any at all for sure. (It's been a few weeks since I finished it.) IF there was, it was mild, or I wouldn't have finished it.

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Christ Centered Wedding by Catherine Parks and Linda Strode (Book Spotlight and GIVEAWAY!!!!!)

(Non-fiction book covers aren't typically the prettiest things in the world, but isn't that a gorgeous cover?!)

Book Description:

Wedding planning has spawned a major industry. The average cost of the occasion now exceeds $25,000, and societal pressure to create the “perfect day” is so strong that even Christian couples forget what God originally intended for the sacred marriage ceremony.

While paying attention to the good fun that follows that special proposal (the dress, the flowers, the cake, the gatherings, etc.), A Christ-Centered Wedding first serves as a guide to believers who want their wedding to portray the relationship of Christ with the church and to reflect the gospel to all in attendance.

From the start, this thoughtful book looks to the Creator of weddings for guidance in planning by emphasizing the sacrificial love of the Savior more than the modern world’s idealistic view of romantic love. There are chapters filled with practical information about everything from pre-marital counseling and choosing a wedding location to other resources like a planning checklist and timeline, music suggestions, guidance on potential issues of conflict, a listing of traditional financial responsibilities, sample vows, and other great ideas from couples who have successfully put together a Christ-centered wedding.

Purchase Link:

A Christ-Centered Wedding: Rejoicing in the Gospel on Your Big Day

The Authors:

The Giveaway:

I know this book has a pretty specific audience, so I encourage you to enter for you or anyone you know that might benefit from it(even libraries!). Of course, I encourage that for all the giveaways I host! :) There are always weddings happening, so I imagine this would make a wonderful gift for a newly engaged couple.

To enter:

Just leave me a comment, with a spam free way to contact you. (I had one giveaway that I searched and searched for a way to contact any of the entrants and had no luck. I still have the book. :( So, make sure I can contact you if you win!

Extra entries:

Advertise this giveaway in any way(Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Blog, anything), and let me know you did. (1 entry per advertisement method)

-Must be 13 years or older to enter.
-Open to US and Canada.
-Ends August 24th, 2014

Good luck!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Blessings of Friendship Treasury by Mary Engelbreit

Book Description:

The Blessings of Friendship, created by New York Times bestselling author and artist Mary Engelbreit, is a playful and poignant treasury of poetry, Bible verses, and quotes that celebrate the joy of friendship. Children will learn from timeless sayings and poems what it means to be a friend - helping, encouraging, listening, sharing with, and loving one another. Colorful and whimsical illustrations bring these words to life, as children learn the value of friendship. Verses from the Bible give us instruction on putting others above ourselves, loving each other, and being kind to one another. This book will make you smile with each turn of the page, remembering old friends and new friends alike.

Purchase Link:

The Blessings of Friendship Treasury

My Rating: 5/5 stars (How could I give Engelbreit's artwork anything less?!)

My Thoughts:

The Blessings of Friendship Treasury is a collection of Bible verses, quotes, and poems by various people concerning the loveliness of friendship. Best of all, each little reminder of friends comes with the artwork of Mary Engelbreit. I'm a fan of Engelbreits! Her artwork always inspires a smile. It's sweet and cozy and just makes me want hot chocolate.

This probably isn't the kind of book one would buy for themselves, though Engelbreit fans and collectors are excluded from that! It IS a lovely gift book, though. I think its main target is children, but I think it's a sweet gift for an adult friend, too. I love the diversity of the children represented in the pictures. There are various sizes and colors represented, and even "disabilities".

*This is a hardcover with a dust jacket.
**There are no page numbers, but I counted 40.

***I was provided a review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The VB6 Cookbook by Mark Bittman

Clarkson Potter (May 6, 2014) 272 pages

Book Description:

Following up on his bestselling diet plan, VB6, the incomparable Mark Bittman delivers a full cookbook of recipes designed to help you eat vegan every day before 6:00 p.m.--and deliciously all of the time.

Whether you call it felxitarian, part-time veganism, or vegetable-centric, the plant-based, real-food approach to eating introduced in Bittman's New York Times bestselling book VB6 has helped countless people regain their good health, control their weight, and forge a smarter, more ethical relationship with food. VB6 does away with the hard and fast rules, the calorie-counting, and the portion control of conventional diets; it's a regimen that is designed to be easy toa dopt and stick to for a lifetime.

When Bittman committed to a vegan before 6:00 pm diet, he quickly realized that everything about it became easier if he cooked his own meals at home. In The VB6 Cookbook he makes this proposition more convenient than you could imagine. Drawing on a varied and enticing pantry of vegan staples strategically punctuated with "treat" foods (including meat and other animal products), he has created a versatile repertoire of recipes that makes following his plan simple, satisfying, and sustainable.

Breakfasts, the most challenging meal of the day for some vegans, are well represented here, with a full range of hot cereals, whirl-and-go-dairy free smoothies, toast toppers, and brunch-worthy entrees. Lunches include hearty soupls, sandwiches, beans, grains, and pastas to pack along wherever the day takes you, and more than a dozen snack recipes provide the perfect afternoon pick-me-up to banish the vending-machine cravings that can undo a day of eating well. Dinners are flexitarian, focusing on vegetable-forward meals that are augmented by a range of animal products for fullest flavor, satisfaction, and nutrient density. A chapter devoted entirely to "building blocks"--make-ahead components you mix and match--ensures that a flavorful and healthy meal is never more than a few minutes away.

If you've thought of trying a vegan diet but worry it's too monotonous or unfamiliar, or simply don't want to give up foods you love to eat, Bittman's vegan and flexitarian recipes will help you cook your way to a new, varied and quite simply better way of eating you can really commit to...for life.

Purchase Link:

The VB6 Cookbook: More than 350 Recipes for Healthy Vegan Meals All Day and Delicious Flexitarian Dinners at Night

My Rating: 5/5 stars

My Thoughts:

I thought this cookbook was completely vegan, so when I saw meat recipes, I became a bit confused. Obviously, I wasn't aware of what the VB6 eating plan was. Thankfully, the author does a wonderful job of explaining in the beginning of the book. He actually takes several pages to educate the reader on the VB6 eating plan(not a diet, but a lifestyle change), and also gives lots of information about food/cooking/nutritional information. There's even a 28 day menu, along with page references directing you to that recipe.

In case you're like I was, and don't know what the VB6 eating plan is, it's where you eat strictly vegan until 6:00 at night, and then you can "treat" yourself with meat, or cheese, or chocolate/etc. I don't eat meat at all, but I do eat dairy, and too much of it. I find the thought of only having it once a day appealing! It doesn't seem so overwhelming as trying to give it up completely, and I know I'd feel better health-wise.

The recipes are divided into 6 sections.

VB6 Building Blocks(ex: salad dressing, vegannaise, vegetable stock)

I LOVE that most of these recipes contain real food that can easily be purchased at any grocery store. There's not a list of ingredients a mile long that can only be purchased at a specialty store, and makes one wonder if it's even real food. I dislike looking through cookbooks and not knowing what in the world some of the ingredients are. Most of the ingredients I saw in this cookbook are already in my kitchen, and if not I can go to the little grocery store in my town and purchase them. (I did see a few recipes that require tofu.)

Another thing that I love about this cookbook is the "variation" section. As an example, for the eggplant meatballs, the author gave some substitutions that could be used, like mushrooms(which is what I did).

I need someone leading the way for me on things like that, because I'm not a natural in the kitchen. I greatly appreciate all the substitutions that have been suggested!

As a side note: There are lots of pictures throughout, but there's NOT one for every recipe.

I'm excited to try more of the recipes within this cookbook!

*I was provided a review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

One Favorite Book?!!!

Carrie at Reading to Know is celebrating 8 years of blogging! ((Congratulations, Carrie!!!))

In case you don't already follow her thoughts on books, I highly recommend it! While some of you may scoff at my reading choices, I can honestly say they have greatly improved through the years. I can thank Carrie for a great deal of the encouragement to make the journey to better reading. (Sure, it's been a slow journey for me, but it HAS been a journey.) ;)

She's having a BIG giveaway to celebrate her 8 years of blogging, and the only rule is to post a picture of you with your favorite book. Picking only one favorite book is crazy talk, but I tried not to think about what book I'd pick too much. I just picked ONE of my favorites(with a pretty cover) and went with it. The hard part was posting a picture of myself. :P That's like public speaking for me. It turns out that the harder part was actually taking a picture of myself and getting me AND the book in the same shot. This was one of the last pictures I took(of many), but I finally decided to go with this one, and call it a day. (We're both mostly in this one, as opposed to the others.) ((I wonder why I feel the need to explain *everything* sometimes.)) ;D

Make sure you go over and congratulate Carrie with a picture of you and your favorite book! (which one would you choose?)

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Berenstain Bears: God Shows the Way

Zonderkidz (August 5, 2014)

Purchase Link:

The Berenstain Bears God Shows the Way (I Can Read! / Berenstain Bears / Living Lights)

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Thoughts:

When it comes to the Berenstain Bears series of books, I never know if it will be a hit or miss. There are some that I just plain hate. There are some that I like, though. I'm actually using The Berenstain Bears' Big Book of Science and Nature as part of Grasshopper's kindergarten "curriculum". I usually like to read them before deciding to use as a read aloud, though.

After reading this post, and deciding to do better about reading with little Bumblebee, I sat him down in my lap and starting reading this book as somewhat of a tester for the older boys. They were in their playroom watching Racing Stripes. When they heard me reading to Bumblebee, they came bounding into the living room and jumped on the couch to listen in, too. So, I didn't get the test reading I prefer, but thankfully, I mostly liked the stories within this book. My boys liked it, too, give it a combined 6 thumbs up.

The stories included are:

Faith Gets Us Through

Have No Fear, God is Near

Piggy Bank Blessings

I especially liked Faith Gets Us Through, because it includes a mini lesson for caves. I was just looking through activity books a couple of days ago, and planned on doing "shadow animals" with the boys one night. Have No Fear, God is Near will be a perfect book to read beforehand, since it has shadow animals within the story. Piggy Bank Blessings wasn't my favorite. As a momma reading it to her children, I felt like I was sending them the message that they should save their money to buy me a present. :P Still, it's a good reminder for parents not to judge a child's actions without talking to them, or judging what's in their hearts, based on actions(if that makes sense).

I'm glad I took a chance on this one! Re-reads have already been requested.

*I was provided a review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.