Friday, October 30, 2015

My First Hands-On Bible


This Bold Blue deluxe edition of My First Hands-On Bible is the preschooler version of the popular Hands-On Bible, which has sold nearly one million copies. Jesus taught with hands-on lessons and illustrations; My First Hands-On Bible uses the same experience-based learning to communicate God’s Word in an active, understandable way.

My First Hands-On Bible is a fun and simple, yet meaningful way to engage preschool, prekindergarten, and kindergarten children (ages 3–6) with the Bible while helping them build a solid faith foundation. Each lesson focuses on a specific Bible point through a variety of activities in order to reinforce and help young children remember the stories and lessons. Using common household items, you can help your children have a “hands-on” learning experience while engaging them in 85 key stories from the Bible.

My First Hands-On Bible doesn’t just retell the Bible stories; it also includes actual Scripture from the easy-to-understand and easy-to-read Holy Bible, New Living Translation. In addition to the stories and activities, there are fun illustrations, prayers, and a special Jesus Connection feature.

My Thoughts:

A few years ago, we got to try out the hardcover version of My First Hands-On Bible. We loved it! It's perfect for the youngest little Bible learners. I'd say 0-3 is probably an ideal age for this Bible, overall(even though 3-6 is the recommended age). When I saw that there was an imitation leather version of it, I thought it would be perfect for my Bumblebee to use. While we tried the blue colored one, because my home is filled with little boys, there's also a pink one for the little girls out there(even if I prefer the blue one, either way). ;)

This Bible uses real verses to tell a Bible event, from a New Living Translation standpoint. It doesn't use every verse, though. For example, within the chapter about the history of Joseph and his brothers, one part shows that verses 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30 are used from Genesis 37, and then it skips to verse 36. It also doesn't cover every event within the Bible. The Old Testament has 39 events covered, and the New Testament has 46 events covered.

The great thing about this particular Bible is that it gives the parent directions that would appeal to a little one while reading it. It might tell you to count an object within a picture with your little one, or act like an animal that is being discussed, maybe by making that animal noise, or actually acting like one. It might tell you to march around the room, getting your little one to follow you. Everything is simple, and doesn't require buying tons of things, but it gives young children a visual lesson to go with the Bible history lesson. There's also plenty of sweet pictures that can teach little ones when they're looking through the book by themselves.

Also, at the end of each chapter, there's extras, like songs, questions, and activities. In the chapter about Jericho's Falling Walls(Joshua 6), the book suggests you build a wall with your child with blocks, and then march around it 7 times, letting your child knock it down after the 7th time around. It also suggests that you show your child how to make a horn by cupping their hands over their mouth and blowing. Each time that week they see something amazing that God has done, the child could blow on their horn.

It's a really sweet book, and has tons of potential for making precious Bible related memories with small children, and I definitely recommend it.

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


Purchase Link:

My First Hands-On Bible


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Parable Treasury by Liz Curtis Higgs, with Illustrations by Nancy Munger

Book Description:

Bestselling favorite Parable books bring fun throughout the year in this new four books in one format.

With more than 1.1 million units sold in the Parable Series, Liz Curtis Higgs has given parents and kids alike beloved parables they can read throughout the year. This adorable compilation, Parable Treasury, allows families to get all their favorite stories in one value-packed book.

For nearly twenty years, Liz Curtis Higgs has made the holidays a little brighter throughout the year with her Parable Series. In a lovely padded hardcover format, the Gold Medallion–winning books from the Parable Series will include:

The Pumpkin Patch Parable,which focuses on the harvest season and shows that we can let God’s love shine through us

The Pine Tree Parable,a heartwarming tale of the farmer and his family, who nurture tiny seedlings into fragrant Christmas trees

The Parable of the Lily, which helps children understand the power of grace and forgiveness and the true meaning of Easter

The Sunflower Parable, which helps children discover the value of planting seeds, not only in the ground but also in the hearts of those around us

With simplicity and creative storytelling, this is sure to be a family favorite.

My Thoughts:

I was looking for "fall-y" type books that were also inspiring, and ended up finding The Pumpkin Patch Parable. Very soon afterwards, I heard about this treasury with all the "parable" books by Higgs. I couldn't resist! This book proved to be perfect reading material for us, and will be a seasonal tradition for us now, Lord willing.

There's a story to read for each season. The Parable of the Lily focuses on Easter, and The Pine Tree Parable focuses on Christmas. (I've mentioned many times before that we don't celebrate the birth and death of Jesus on specific days of the year, and instead try to keep the focus year round. Even so, these parables still worked out well for us, and I'm thrilled with them. We'll just use them as Winter/Spring reads, as opposed to focusing on a specific day, and most likely edit those particular words within the story in the future, even though I read it as is this time around.) The Pumpkin Patch Parable is a alternative to Halloween, and really is a special treat. The Sunflower Parable is one for summer. After reading The Pumpkin Patch Parable, my Grasshopper ended up asking me to read the other three stories, too. He loved the whole book, and especially loved that the same farmer was in all four stories. Each story revolves around the farmer and his family, along with the plants that they grow.

As you read through the story, there's Bible verses that coordinates with each page placed at the bottom. I loved this, and tried fitting these verses into the reading a couple of different ways. I felt that reading the story straight through, and then coming back reading the Bible verses worked out best. It allowed for more discussion. I'm loving reading aloud more and more, because as my Grasshopper grows, he's adding more and more to the discussions they lead to. He's a very talkative little guy!

The book truly is a treasure! We loved it, and highly recommend it! It's a great way to add an inspiring lesson and discussion into each season.

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


Purchase Link:

Parable Treasury


Friday, October 23, 2015

Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook by Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison


In their debut cookbook, the Trim Healthy Mama’s share hundreds of delicious, healthy recipes to help readers successfully slim down while eating well. This companion cookbook to the bestselling Trim Healthy Mama Plan is just what readers have been waiting for. It features simple, mouthwatering, recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner—including slow cooker and one-pot meals, hearty soups and salads, omelets and waffles, pizzas, breads and more. No Trim Healthy Mama should be deprived, so there are also favorite snacks, delectable desserts, and the smoothies, sippers and teas fans love. With pantry-stocking advice, time-saving tips, and information on how to cook for the entire family, the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook offers a delicious and nutritious way to make trim and healthy meals with less stress—so you have more time with your loved ones.

My Thoughts:

I've been hearing about the Trim Healthy Mama Plan for awhile now, and I have to admit I've been curious. I knew the book associated with the plan was self-published, but it was so popular even a used book was out of my price range(at the time). I'd also read that the book didn't have any pictures and was a bit hectic to find things within it. It seemed to be such a great plan, though, that ladies were willing to overlook the negatives.

Still, when I saw that the Trim Healthy Mama Plan had been republished, and the cookbook had color pictures, I kind of looked the other way. I was thinking that I know what to do to lose weight. Eat less sugar, more fruits and veggies, and exercise more. Putting it into practice is always the hard part! I was swayed, though, by the following these ladies have. In *this* particular case, the more people going by the plan and having success, the more encouragement. We could all use encouragement! Plus, the "Breads and Pizza Crusts" section has this. "Why would we be so cruel as to take bread and pizza from your life? Enjoy!" ;D

When I first flipped through the cookbook, I thought I'd made a mistake getting it. There were ingredients that aren't really realistic for me right now, and things that I had no clue what they were. Super Sweet Blend? Gentle Sweet? Baking Blend? A "doonk" on Pure Stevia Extract? It looked overwhelming. Thankfully, I turned to the front of the cookbook, and read what Pearl and Serene had to say. First of all, they recommend reading the "plan" book first, titled Trim Healthy Mama Plan: The Easy-Does-It Approach to Vibrant Health and a Slim Waistline. It has all the details of the plan and what it's all about. I haven't read that book yet, though I plan to, Lord willing. They are also very forgiving. They don't recommend going and buying all new ingredients at once. They actually list which new products they recommend starting with, and which ones to add when the budget allows. They also recommend forgiving yourself when you "cheat". One of them follows the plan closely, and one isn't as strict.

The cookbook itself is chunky. (512 pages, y'all!) A great deal of recipes have been packed into it, which I appreciate in this instance. There are color pictures throughout, both of recipes and Pearl and Serene with their families. (Not every recipe has a picture with it, though.) Though some of the recipes looked complicated at first, after reading the beginning, they don't look so overwhelming. They look much more simple and doable for me the more I read. Also, I've already heard great things about the newly republished books from long time fans of the plan.

Pearl and Serene have already won me over, and I have to admit that I'm looking forward to reading the other book, not only for the plan, but to get to know these ladies better!

Do any of you follow the Trim Healthy Mama Plan? Do you have any tips/suggestions for this mama starting out?

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


Purchase Links:

Trim Healthy Mama Plan: The Easy-Does-It Approach to Vibrant Health and a Slim Waistline

Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook: Eat Up and Slim Down with More Than 350 Healthy Recipes


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Thankful by Eileen Spinelli


Bestselling and award-winning children’s author Eileen Spinelli combines charming rhymes and whimsical illustrations to convey the importance of being thankful for everyday blessings. Thankful, by bestselling and award-winning children’s author Eileen Spinelli, combines charming rhymes and whimsical illustrations to convey the importance of being thankful for everyday blessings. Like the gardener thankful for every green sprout, and the fireman for putting the fire out, readers are encouraged to be thankful for the many blessings they find in their lives.

Spinelli exhibits her endearing storytelling with this engaging poem, reminding children how blessed and special they are. Meant to be read aloud, this heartwarming picture book will be a treasured keepsake for parents and children alike.

My Thoughts:

I hate to admit how disappointed I was with this book. It IS cute, but it was so different than what I was expecting with the great reviews it had when I grabbed it. I guess I was expecting much more from it.

During our morning "table time", I've been trying to add in a picture book of some sort after our devotional. Character building books are my preference. I thought this would be a good book to teach thankfulness. And, it is, in its own way. It just wasn't what I was expecting.

The book goes through various professions that people have, and tell what that particular group is thankful for. For example, a poet is thankful for words that rhyme, a waitress for comfortable shoes, etc. I guess I was bugged more than I should be that the book said a "pastor"(we call him minister, or more often preacher, around here)is thankful for "God's loving word". I had to stop reading and add that ALL Christians should be just as grateful for the Bible as the minister is. Again, I'm probably being too hard on the book for that, but it really did bug me.

If you're looking to talk about some of the professions out there, and a bit about thankfulness, this is a cute book. We enjoyed the illustrations. It just wasn't our favorite book.

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


Purchase Link:



Sunday, October 11, 2015

Aspen Everlasting by Kathryn Cooper

Cedar Fort, Inc. (September 8, 2015) 220 pages


Water splashed on all sides then took control of the tires. The car swerved right toward the river.
“No. NO. NO!” I turned the wheel toward the road. It didn’t work. Fast running water pulled the car into the flooded river.

Aspen Foster thinks she’s just a normal sixteen-year-old, but when her car’s caught in a flash flood, Aspen and her sister discover the superhuman strength they never knew they had.

Soon Aspen learns she’s not normal at all. She’s an Evermortal fairy, with powers beyond her wildest dreams. But the more Aspen finds out about her family’s past, the more dangerous her future becomes.

This riveting fantasy is full of action, adventure, and romance. Suspenseful and exhilarating!


My Thoughts:

I think I "met" Kathryn soon after I started blogging. I've always greatly enjoyed her blog, and her book recommendations. She's someone I'd love to be friends with in person. She has 4 little boys, and she seems like such a genuinely sweet person. Recently, she battled through brain cancer, and it was amazing to watch her strength through this time.

For those reasons, I'm extra super proud of her for having this book published.

In Aspen Everlasting, we're taken into the world of Evermortals. Aspen discovers she has strength much greater than the average person, and will age much slower as an adult. Her family has the same powers. She also discovers that things have been hidden from her, and all is not as it seems.

Aspen Everlasting is a quick read, and packed full of action and suspense. There's even a romance, and while I admit romance isn't at the top of my reading list lately, I genuinely enjoyed it. It was sweet, and I found myself smiling different times while reading. I loved the close family relationship between Aspen and her parents and brother and sister, too.

I can't wait to read more from Kathryn! I want the next book NOW! ;)

*I was provided an e-copy, in exchange for my honest opinion.


Purchase Link:

Aspen Everlasting


About the Author:

Kathryn Cooper lives in the heart of Texas with her husband and four young boys. She has read and blogged about other authors' books for years. She is excited to finally have her own book out for readers. Aspen Everlasting is her first novel.


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Owls: Our Most Charming Bird by Matt Sewell

Ten Speed Press (September 22, 2015) 128 pages


An enchanting illustrated guide to owl species of the world.

The owl is one of nature’s most captivating creatures. In this enchanting guide, artist Matt Sewell brings to life fifty species from around the world. From the adorable Eurasian Pygmy Owl, small enough to fit in your pocket, to the Great Gray Owl, celebrated for its size and elegance—these charming illustrations are sure to delight anyone intrigued by these wise and wonderful animals.

My Thoughts:

The word "charming" is used different times in connection with this book, and really, it's impossible for me to look at it and not do the same. It truly is a charming little book! I love birds, period, but owls are one of the most interesting birds out there(to me, anyway). I never knew there were so many different kinds of owls! The fact that this little book opened my mind to more owls, combined with the lovely illustrations, make this a book worthy of the keeper shelf.

The owls are divided into 4 sections. (Woodland, Tropical, Wilderness, and Desert) Each owl gets a 2 page spread, with its name, and a short amount of information about it on one page. It doesn't go into great detail, but gives you just enough to separate it from other owls. It's done so with sweet humor. The other page gets a precious illustration of that owl.

It's a super cute book, and very helpful for those studying owls. I plan on using this with my boys as part of an owl study soon, and hope that we can see a real owl, in its natural world, as opposed to zoo owls. I've only got to see 1 live owl in the wild in my whole life, and it's a pretty memorable thing! I also just discovered that Sewell has several other bird books, and they are on my "top" wishlist now! I love this book so much, I can't wait to see more from him!

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


Purchase Link:

Owls: Our Most Charming Bird


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Nest by Kenneth Oppel

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (October 6, 2015) 256 pages

My Rating: 5/5 stars

My Thoughts:

This might be the oddest book I've ever read. I highly recommend reading it just to experience the tremendous amount of odd that it possesses! Don't read descriptions of the story! Just go into it blindly, and experience the weirdness with a fresh mind.

That could probably be enough of a review, but if you want more......

I knew going into The Nest that it was supposed to be a creepy book. I don't read creepy books, unless it's children's, and then I'm too curious to stay away. As I read along through this book, I kept thinking it wasn't near as creepy as I thought it would be(though creepy, for sure). It was after closing the last page that the story kept running through my mind, and little bits and pieces of creepiness spooked me a bit. And, I'm an adult! For that reason, I wouldn't recommend this book to sensitive children or those prone to nightmares(like me)!

Within this book, I learned more about wasps than I ever really cared to know. Still, it was interesting. One of my children and my mother-in-law is allergic to wasps. I don't like the creatures! I believe the feeling is probably mutual with most people, making wasps the perfect creepy focus of this story. I left this book disliking them more than ever!

Wrapped up in all the oddness and all the creepiness, there are hug worthy moments as the author touches on issues, such as perfection and disabilities within the world. I won't elaborate on that too much, but it was this that made the book "hug worthy" to me. The main character, Steve , has OCD issues and suffers from nightmares. He has his struggles. I was the weirdest child you could ever dream of meeting back in my childhood days, so children that are labeled "not normal" by the world always pull on my heartstrings. Steve was no exception.

I highly recommend this book! I thought it was amazing and creative and beautiful, and don't forget, creepy and odd. ;)

*I was provided an ARC, in exchange for my honest opinion.


Purchase Link:

The Nest