Friday, October 31, 2014

A Beautiful Mess: Happy Handmade Home by Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman

Potter Style (August 26, 2014) 240 pages

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Thoughts:

I can remember a time, when I was single and without kids, that I would have LOVED this book. I can easily imagine myself as a younger person doing/making most of the things within this book. It's a very artsy and hip, retro kind of decorating, but at the same time, very simple. I was never "hip" at any point in my life, but I liked bright, artsy things. At one stage, I remember the odder and brighter the shirt, the better. (Oh, I wish I had pictures to make fun of my self back then.)

I really enjoyed looking through this book. There's all kinds of creativity and beauty within it. It's not overly my style these days, though. (That, or it wouldn't easily work in our current season of life.) The thought of hanging dishes on my dining room wall makes me want to cry a little, but it was still fun to look at how someone else saw beauty in it. A wall full of animal horns makes me want to cry more. I WAS able to pull a few ideas out that I really like. The wagon full of books made my heart skip a beat in happiness. I connected the most with the outdoor spaces. Using empty "soup" cans as flower pots is so simple and cute, and I love it. I also love that this book encouraged me to think outside the box, and reuse items. Most of the ideas in this book can be done pretty inexpensively.

Ultimately, I think most of us, no matter what styles and taste in decor, could benefit from this book. It IS inspiring, and I think that was the point of the book! I'm encouraged more to make our space into something that we love. I'd probably recommend you check it out at the library first, though, just to see how much you connect with it..

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

Purchase Link:

A Beautiful Mess Happy Handmade Home: Painting, Crafting, and Decorating a Cheerful, More Inspiring Space

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Armchair Cybils 2014

It's time for the Cybils again! Amy @ Hope is the Word is hosting the Armchair Cybils again this year, and I can't resist joining in, despite that fact that I'm horrible at challenges. Horrible! Y'all already know that, though, right? (Remember the Summer Reading Challenge I tried? Reading some REAL Jane Austen was yet again a fail for me. I can't give up hope, though!)

Every once in awhile, I bravely venture out of the safe(ish) world of children's and Christian books into the world of secular and adult books. That phase always leaves me running back to my safe little world. (Don't get me wrong! Children's and Christian books can be challenging, too!) As a challenge to myself, though, I read several secular non-fiction books and one adult fiction(Bitter Greens) that has left me so disturbed, that I'm seeking refuge in middle grade fiction to recover(as soon as I make my way through Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured, that is).

My goal for the Armchair Cybils is to spend most of my time focusing on the middle grade categories, in particular the speculative fiction category, which is probably my most favorite reading category. Between my library, Edelweiss, and Amazon Vine, I already have quite a few of them in my reading pile, both "real" and e-books. I've already read several of the nominated books, especially in the middle grade realm, too.

Don't forget to get your nominations in! Tomorrow is the last day. I'm excited to print off my final Cybils reading list for the next several months.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Made by God: Weird and Wonderful Creations

About the Book:

Weird and Wonderful Creations is a bind up of the nonfiction Made By God series. With photos and facts showing children the wonders of God’s creation, this collection includes four complete early reader titles as well as over 200 additional facts throughout the book. Some of the creatures featured include whales, tarantulas, bats, sea turtles, and more. All facts align with the Common Core Standards for informational reading for young readers.

Weird and Wonderful Creations includes:

Spiders, Snakes, Bees and Bats
Big Bugs, Little Bugs
Sea Creatures
Poisonous, Smelly, and Amazing Plants

My Rating: 5/5 stars

My Thoughts:

Zondervan has been reprinting these "Made by God" easy reader books into "treasuries", which contain 4 books in 1.

Grasshopper LOVES these books! We've spent a huge amount of time within their pages. He had already fallen in love with the Curious Creatures treasury, so he's been thrilled to have this one on our shelves, too. They are full of facts, so even I learn new things. There's also lots of pictures. Grasshopper is FULL of questions these days, and these books provide tons of learning opportunities for him, and fill his mind with even more questions to ask.

In this particular book, we're learning about some of God's more unusual creations, like the Venus Fly Trap and fireflies. We have a "bug jar" that we regularly put creatures in to observe and do some research on before letting them back into nature. The Wheel Bug and Preying Mantis have been the most fascinating so far. Feed a preying mantis a grasshopper and you'll find yourself both fascinated and disturbed! The giant garden spider that has been living outside our living room window the past couple of months has been pretty fascinating, too, especially since she's been a HUGE help in the wasp department. Creatures similar to those are found in this book, so it's a new little research book for when we have a creature in the bug jar(or outside our window). I've found myself fascinated as we learn, right along with Grasshopper.

The best part is the constant mention of God and HIS creations. I always edit and try to add in God when I'm reading from "evolution" books, but it's nice to not have to do that within the pages of these books. It's like I can relax more as we read and browse through these books. (As much as one can relax with questions flying around at 60 per minute.) ;)

I have no hesitations recommending these "Made by God" books for your curious little ones! We can't wait for more!

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

Purchase Link:

Weird and Wonderful Creations (Made By God)